Financial Media Wakeup Call: The Big Disconnect

I was having a discussion with the CEO of one of the largest financial media companies in the country yesterday.

A few points I made:

1. The population of DIY investors who want to actively trade their own stocks each day and need news that caters to them is small and shrinking (their estimates are that the number is 3 million people in the US). To focus primarily on this segment misses the bigger picture – the 8.6 million millionaire households that truly need help with longer-term planning, not stock ideas. See the below slide from Chip Roame’s Tiburon CEO Summit last year:


2. But this is how most financial media properties are geared – everyone’s doing sites and apps and content about which stocks to buy and sell and how to react to economic / earnings news. It’s pretty crowded and when people try to stand out in crowds they tend to shout, post things in ALL-CAPS and engage in hyperbole.

3. The real wealth in this country (US investors have $59.4 trillion of net worth excluding their houses) doesn’t give a shit about whether or not they should buy Netflix – they want content, insight and information that helps them with planning, portfolio construction, asset allocation and true investing – not just trading, trading, trading.

4. The financial media is irrationally addicted to trading stories because they have urgency and they’re entertaining, even if ultimately unsatisfying to the 90 million Americans who are trying to figure out what to do with their wealth. There is a relentless focus on analyst research calls, upgrades and downgrades, economic data releases, merger and acquisition buzz, hedge fund activity etc. This is all highly interesting and I personally enjoy both consuming and creating this type of content as well. But it should not be the only thing on the web / airwaves. It is disproportionately dominant when compared to its actual utility for the majority of the audience. There is a huge content arbitrage opportunity here.

5. This is very much a junk food versus eating your veggies conundrum and we know who usually wins these tug-o-wars in real life. It’s not that people don’t need to know the macro news or the state of the markets each day – it’s that this stuff is really only relevant to them as it affects their portfolios and, by extension, their lives. Financial content and journalists can and should do more to connect the two in their reporting.

6. Some media outlet, print or television or radio, is going to figure this out and exploit it. Many media companies do not make the distinction between investing and daytrading, but they should. Making the investing process fun and exciting is not hard to do with the right talent, writers and format. Focusing on process versus outcomes will also engage professionals to share this content and participate in its manufacture as well.

7. The advertisers – from luxury auto companies to ETF arms dealers – will beat a path to your door once you establish dominance in this market. Here’s what is at stake in dollar terms (also from Roame’s presentation):


8. There are thousands of potential content creators from the asset management and wealth management verticals who are essentially untapped and more than eager to participate in this sort of thing.

9. The news of the day is only part of the key to appealing to this audience – portfolio analytics and measurement tools to help them track where they are in their retirement goals – along with risk management gauges – will give people a reason to check back in and engage if you can’t get them in via trading ideas or “breaking news”.

10. Most market commentary – by definition – is stale within hours of being produced or published. I have personally created over 8000 pieces of it and believe me, nobody will ever read 99% of what I’ve done prior to last week unless I’m accused of a triple homicide and claim to have buried clues to the crime within my old posts.  But content that deals with real investing as opposed to “trade the news” is a lot more evergreen. Given this reality, you would assume the media would find it more profitable to emphasize this kind of stuff…

I think the existence of this disconnect is fascinating, so many people’s mindsets are locked in this late-90’s paradigm of stockpicking as a hobby. And yet even a casual glance at the fund flows over the last few years would tell you that the Boomers have moved away from this kind of activity while the newer generations of investors (X, Y, Millennials) have never been interested in it.

Anyway, someone’s going to figure this out and do it right. Maybe.

Below, a quick and very incomplete list of financial media outlets, people and sites that emphasize investing:

Tadas Viskanta (Abnormal Returns)


Bob Seawright (Above the Market)

Jason Zweig (WSJ’s Intelligent Investor)


iShares ETF Blog

Tom Brakke (Research Puzzle)

Context (AllianceBernstein)

There are more out there, what are your favorite investing resources?




Full Disclosure: Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be advice, research or an invitation to buy or sell any securities, please see my Terms & Conditions page for a full disclaimer.

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web
  1. نصب و اجرای دوربین مداربسته commented on Sep 04

    دوربین مدار بسته

    Fantastic blog! Is your concept customized manufactured or did you obtain it from somewhere? A style like yours with a few easy adjustements would really make my website stand out. Remember to let me know where you obtained your style. Bless you

  2. free windows app download commented on Sep 04

    free windows app download

    […]the time to read or take a look at the content or sites we have linked to beneath the[…]

  3. فروش دوربین های مدار بسته مخفی commented on Sep 05

    دوربین مدار بسته

    Greetings from Florida! I’m bored to dying at work so I determined to check out your internet site on my apple iphone during lunch split. I take pleasure in the info you offer right here and can not hold out to just take a seem when I get home. I’m sho…

  4. pc games full version download commented on Sep 05

    pc games full version download

    […]please stop by the internet sites we stick to, which includes this one particular, as it represents our picks from the web[…]

  5. دوربین مدار بسته پویابین commented on Sep 05

    دوربین مدار بسته

    Does your site have a contact page? I’m possessing a difficult time finding it but, I’d like to shoot you an e-mail. I have received some innovative concepts for your blog you may be interested in hearing. Either way, excellent website and I look ahead…

  6. free games download for pc commented on Sep 05

    free games download for pc

    […]here are some hyperlinks to websites that we link to simply because we assume they’re worth visiting[…]

  7. بهترین مارک دوربین مدار بسته commented on Sep 05

    دوربین مدار بسته

    Hello there! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my site to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not looking at very very good benefits. If you know of any you should share. Appreciate it!

  8. free download for windows pc commented on Sep 05

    free download for windows pc

    […]Here are a few of the web pages we suggest for our visitors[…]

  9. آموزش نصب دوربین های مدار بسته commented on Sep 05

    دوربین مدار بسته

    I totally enjoy your weblog and uncover a great deal of your post’s to be precisely I’m seeking for. Does a single offer you visitor writers to write content obtainable for you? I wouldn’t head making a post or elaborating on a few of the subjects you…

  10. pc apps for windows 7 commented on Sep 05

    pc apps for windows 7

    […]we came across a cool site that you simply may love. Take a appear if you want[…]

  11. Mu Cang Chai Vietnam commented on Sep 07

    Mu Cang Chai Vietnam

    […]although web sites we backlink to below are considerably not connected to ours, we feel they may be essentially really worth a go as a result of, so have a look[…]

  12. anti skid tape commented on Sep 07

    anti skid tape

    […]Here is a good Blog You might Locate Exciting that we Encourage You[…]

  13. Wholesale Gucci Bags commented on Sep 07

    Wholesale Gucci Bags

    […]Here is an excellent Weblog You may Locate Fascinating that we Encourage You[…]

  14. نصب و اجرای دوربین مداربسته commented on Sep 08

    نصب دوربین مدار بسته

    I do not know if it is just me or if probably absolutely everyone else encountering issues with your internet site. It appears as if some of the prepared textual content inside your posts are operating off the screen. Can somebody else please remark an…

Read this next.