Apr 9, 2024 - Business

Robinhood launches site for new media arm

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Photo: Sherwood Media

Retail trading giant Robinhood on Tuesday officially launched a website for its new media outlet, Sherwood News. The launch also includes a rebrand of its popular financial newsletter Snacks.

Why it matters: Sherwood News wants to be a revenue-driving business for Robinhood, not just a customer acquisition tool, says Joshua Topolsky, editor-in-chief and president of Sherwood News.

  • It plans to focus on ad sales before expanding to other revenue streams, like events.

Catch up quick: Sherwood News is an independent LLC that will exist as a subsidiary of Robinhood. The content produced by Sherwood is editorially independent, says Topolsky, and journalists aren't prevented from covering their parent company, with proper disclosures.

  • Topolsky began hiring for Sherwood last year. Robinhood acquired U.K.-based Chartr Limited in December to boost Sherwood's data visualization and newsletter products.

Zoom in: The new website is launching with original stories across several dedicated content sections, including markets, business, tech, crypto, power, world, personal finance and culture.

  • The editorial is produced by nearly two dozen veteran journalists, including former UBS analyst and Bloomberg reporter Luke Kawa, former CoinDesk managing editor Toby Bochan, former New York Times and Axios writer Matt Phillips, and former Gawker editor-in-chief Leah Finnegan.
  • At launch, the company will have roughly three dozen employees. It hopes to have around 40 full-time staff by the end of the year, Topolsky says.
  • The new site also includes a dedicated section for Snacks, the newsletter Robinhood acquired in 2019. The Snacks franchise will be rebranded and has expanded to include new interactive content, like quizzes.

The big picture: More media companies are looking to combine news and information with trading platforms, a practice long championed by Bloomberg.

  • Yahoo acquired CommonStock, a social platform designed for retail investors to share insights based on information linked directly to their brokerage accounts, last year.
  • Betting companies are increasingly partnering with sports media companies to launch branded products.

Yes, but: Few media companies have successful track records of building businesses independent of their parent company.

  • Bloomberg Media is not profitable. Penn National sold Barstool Sports back to its founder Dave Portnoy for $1 after losing more than $800 million on the deal.

State of play: Topolsky sees a market opportunity for a news brand to cover business in social media-first formats and a voice native to a younger generation of investors.

  • One day, he says, there could be value in offering Sherwood News insights as part of a suite of products for Robinhood investors.

What's next: The company is looking to expand its product suite to podcasts, events and even a print magazine in the back half of this year.

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