Salon.com (Nasdaq: SALN, www.salon.com), one of the Internet's leading media companies, today announced that the number of advertisers and sponsors on its network of 10 Web sites has soared 117% from one year ago. For the quarter ending December 31, 1999, Salon.com has secured more than 152 simultaneous sponsors including a cross-section of major companies -- from automotive leaders, Lexus, Toyota and Ford to technology giants, IBM and EDS to financial heavyweights, Fidelity Brokerage and Ameritrade.
"More than three years ago, we decided to bring our sales efforts in-house and set up a strong national organization," said Michael O'Donnell, Salon.com CEO and president. "With more than 20 sales professionals on staff and offices in San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, we're canvassing the advertising world to take advantage of the growing movement toward online advertising."
Salon.coms recently launched Holiday Gift Guide, an elegant online boutique sponsored by 25 premium e-tailers, including Neiman Marcus, Dean & Deluca and RedEnvelope Gifts, has enjoyed early success. Designed for ease and convenience, the Holiday Gift Guide takes shoppers directly to the site of a partner where they can select from a wide array of unique gifts. The service is averaging a staggering 8% click-through rate - fully 16 times greater than the Internet-wide average of .5%. Most impressive is the 31% click-through rate for the Museum of Modern Art on the Holiday Gift Guide.
"This quarter has demonstrated our ability to capitalize on award-winning content and a valuable audience to create and grow a new kind of media company," said O'Donnell. "With the presidential election season heating up and the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia just nine months away, the year 2000 looks to be a strong sales year for media companies. And Salon.com is positioned to take advantage of those opportunities."
Later this year, led by Salon.com Executive Editor, Gary Kamiya, the network will launch a special package for the 2000 Summer Olympic Games from Sydney, Australia. Building on the successful, IBM-sponsored coverage of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, the network will feature athlete profiles and real-time live reporting.
In addition, Salon.com users can count on continued coverage of the 2000 presidential election as well as key congressional races throughout the country -- from exclusive interviews with leading candidates to in-depth coverage of the issues shaping the national conversation.
The high-quality content available throughout Salon.coms network of 10 Web sites has yielded significant increases in unique visitors over the past year as consumers look to the Internet for their news and entertainment . In September 1999, Salon.com reported 1.9 million unique users, surpassing the circulation numbers for the nation's leading newspapers. According to a December report in the Wall Street Journal, the average weekly circulation of the top five newspapers in the country were the following: USA Today -1.76 million; The Wall Street Journal - 1.75 million; The New York Times - 1.09 million; Los Angeles Times - 1.08 million; The Washington Post - 763,000 (according to Audit Bureau of Circulation).
Salon.com (Nasdaq: SALN; www.salon.com; AOL Keyword: Salon) is an Internet media company that produces a network of 10 original content sites and two communities -- Table Talk and The Well. Salon.com was founded by David Talbot, former arts editor of the San Francisco Examiner. Premier advertisers and sponsors of Salon.com include Visa, IBM, Lexus, Microsoft, Virgin.com, Intel, DrKoop.com, barnesandnoble.com and EDS. The network has relationships with 275 advertising sponsors. In September 1999, the site had 1.9 million unique visitors.
Salon.com recently announced an equity and content agreement with Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation and NBC. The network also has an e-commerce ticketing arrangement with CultureFinder.com and distribution arrangements for its books, news and technology content via Rocket eBooks and AvantGo. Salon.com distributes its content to major online companies including America Online, Lycos, Go.com, Alta Vista, CNN.com and Cnet and is syndicated to North American newspapers through United Features.
This announcement contains forward-looking statements concerning advertising and traffic growth that involve risks and uncertainties including, among others, acceptance and effectiveness of advertising, growth in use of the Internet, Salon.com's limited operating history, anticipated losses, the unpredictability of its future revenues, competition, advertising sales in the year 2000, risks associated with system development and operation risks, management of potential growth and risks of new business areas, business combinations and strategic alliances. Actual results could differ materially from those discussed. More information about factors that potentially could affect Salon.com's financial results are included in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements are based on information available to the company on the date hereof, and the Company assumes no obligation to update such statements.