Culture and Talent
Investopedia launches online finance and investing academy
- Investopedia launched an online training academy focused on finance and investing.
- To the company, the educational space is a good fit because competitors don't focus on finance and courses are a natural extension of the free content it offers.
As Investopedia charts its course as a media brand, it's coming up against the roadblock all publishers eventually hit -- the reality that display revenue alone won't be enough. Investopedia joins a league of media companies that have been exploring new ways to generate revenue beyond editorial content, including fee-based premium services and other products. Building off its niche in finance and investing, Investopedia Tuesday launched its own financial education academy with on-demand courses. "There's a big gap between the types of [finance and investing] content that people are interested in reading about and looking up and what’s available," said the company's CEO David Siegel. "Our value proposition is that by paying for a course you'll be making more money or saving in the future; there's a direct return on investment on that spend." Siegel explained that Investopedia, which draws over 30 million monthly unique monthly visitors, keeps track of what types of content resonates with users -- insights that are valuable for designing course offerings. "The cross section of being a media and an e-commerce business is a very compelling model," Siegel said. "The reason why is because we have a tremendous amount of data from the media side of the business." The company beta-tested a few courses this spring, and over 2,000 users signed up for one or more of the courses offered. Investopedia Academy course titles include Excel for Finance, How to be a Day Trader, and Fundamental Investing, with the cost per course ranging from $25 to $400. Courses are taught by people who work in the financial services industry. Siegel said he expects course revenue to exceed what's generated from the site's free content. While he wouldn't say what the company's annual revenue was, Siegel said it grew an average of around 30 percent for each of the last three years. "The question is how can we take better advantage of the fact that people love Investopedia and want more content, and the answer is to offer premium content to satisfy those users." Current revenue sources are banner ads and sponsored content. The online education academy is Investopedia's second new product offering in the past six months, after rolling out a service to match financial advisers with clients in April. To the company, the educational space is a good fit because competitors like Lynda.com and Khan Academy don't focus exclusively on finance, and Investopedia can organically generate interest based on brand recognition. Siegel said he hopes it can eventually offer an online MBA in conjunction with an educational institution. The company has also begun conversations with banks and financial services companies on how the course content can be used as part of staff training programs. "The way in which many banks train their analysts is the same way it was 15 or 20 years ago," he said. "There are large in-person classes and they're not necessarily leveraging the types of technologies that are prominent and that many institutions are moving towards, such as gamification, video and creative instructive design."