Business Insider Did Nothing When the Pandemic Hit. It Worked.

Desy Papper

In the early days of the pandemic, Business Insider co-founder Henry Blodget spoke with the website’s owner to discuss a collapse in advertising revenue that had hit the news industry. Across American corporations, leaders were responding to the Covid-19 crisis with a flurry of activity and strategy shifts. Mr. Blodget […]

In the early days of the pandemic, Business Insider co-founder Henry Blodget spoke with the website’s owner to discuss a collapse in advertising revenue that had hit the news industry.

Across American corporations, leaders were responding to the Covid-19 crisis with a flurry of activity and strategy shifts. Mr. Blodget persuaded the company’s owner, German media conglomerate Axel Springer SE , to do nothing and let the storm pass. It worked.

Insider Inc., the parent of Business Insider and related properties, roared back in the second half of the year, posting 30% revenue growth for 2020 while turning a profit, Mr. Blodget said. A person familiar with the matter said the company generated over $150 million in revenue.

Business Insider, which blends business news and pop culture coverage, benefited from the combination of a burgeoning subscription business and its reliance on a form of automated advertising that held up relatively well in the pandemic, but which many peers have drifted away from.

Insider Inc. was able to continue a hiring spree despite the turmoil. The company added 200 employees in 2020, 130 of them in the newsroom, and now employs just over 500 people in all.

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