This week’s earning report from CNET underscores why the sprawling content network with its 116 million or so monthly uniques is the internet company so many others would like to acquire but can’t afford to swallow whole. For instance, for 2006 the company is projecting total revenues in the range of $395 million to $407 million — a 17 percent to 21 percent growth. We posted the audio from the earnings call Monday; now the transcript is up at The Internet Stock Blog if you’re looking for some more color on why CNET sold Computer Shopper, the growth of TV.com or more insight into the company’s direction. Five years ago, CNET was pigeonholed as a tech portal; today, notes Chairman and CEO Shelby Bonnie, the CNET-branded properties make up less than half of overall revenues.
More from Bonnie: “As much as we all talked about 10 years ago the convergence and digitization of media, it is now actually happening — and, if anything, we’ll probably go faster than we expect. There are two things that are driving it. The first is the empowerment by technology, where resources like the Internet, especially high-speed bandwidth, abundant storage and faster processors are becoming more affordable and mainstream. This has put the consumer in a unique place of control. Second — and probably more important — is the change in consumer expectations that have come from these advances. A consumer today believes that they can get or learn whatever they – when they want, how they want. It is now just taken as given that I can find anything, it will be timely and relevant and at my fingertips.”
– Asked about competition from an upcoming Yahoo’s personal tech offering, Bonnie said he expected something to launch and “do a good job” addressing the lower two-thirds of the market while CNET continues to focus on the top-third. CNET is licensing tech and gaming content to Yahoo.
Related: Earnings: CNET Sells Computer Shopper; 4Q05 Revenues Up 20 Percent: Audio