Earnings: TheStreet.com Losses Narrow; Plans Opening Up Site

TheStreet.com, which has been shopping itself around for some time now, posted narrower losses in Q1, highlighted by 48% and 46% year-over-year gains in advertising and commission revenues (from its research business)…

It had a net loss of $854,000 for the quarter, compared to $1.6 million in the year-ago quarter. Net revenue increased 13% over the prior year to $8.9 million.

By segment, Q1 subscription revenue was $5.4 million, a slight increase from a year ago; ads revenue was $2.1 million vs. $1.4 million a year ago (up 3 percent from Q4 2004); and commission revenue from Independent Research Group LLC was $1.1 million vs. $777,000 in the year-ago period.

CEO Thomas Clarke said in conference call that the company’s planning to open up more content, to capitalize on advertising upturn: “We are entering a period where we believe the advertising cycle is going to be strong for the remainder of this year,” Clarke said..”That means subscription revenue probably goes down as we move quality content over to the free site where it can be monetized through advertising.”

On getting acquired, he said nothing much has happened…he said a buyout was a possibility for TheStreet.com, but it was also possible that the company could be an acquire, or that it could spin off one of its business units and keep another.

One possible matchup: Just speculating here: could the newly created CBS Digital buy TheStreet.com? Now that MarketWatch went to Dow Jones, CBS is lacking a financial news service in its network of sites: it has news, sports, entertainment, etc…and its execs have pondered on the possibility of having a financial/business presence. Of course, for CBS, a consumer finance site would be a better fit than TSCM, which is very high-end Wall Street kind of stuff…if the sale happens in pieces, it might be possible to retool TSCM into a consumer outfit…

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