Every financial media company has the same challenge: How do you provide content that is as informative as it is entertaining?
There has to be a balance between the two. Lack either information or entertainment, and people just won't come back to your site.
One of the earliest ways media combined information with entertainment was the ticker. You've seen it on CNBC and other networks. It's a stream of stock quotes zipping across the bottom of your TV:
The ticker was brilliant. It's pure information, no opinions, but it's also entertaining. You sit and stare at it, waiting for your company to cross. And you have to be quick -- don't look away or you might miss something big.
But it has had its day.
Anyone with a smartphone can find the current price of a stock in about three seconds, for free. And more people are interested in long-term investing these days, moving away from active, short-term trading where a ticker feed is actually relevant. It has become something viewers neither need nor want.
If I could, I'd replace the current ticker with something relevant to long-term investors that is also a form of fast-paced entertainment.
I call it the business ticker.
The only consistent way to make money in stocks is to let company profits and dividends accrue to you over time. If investors want to track stocks in a fast-paced, ticker-like way, the most reasonable way to do it is to think about how much profit is accruing to you each day, in real time. Maybe you make $10 a day in dividends, or your share of profits this year from companies you own works out to $25 a day. Those are pretty much the only daily numbers that have any relevance to you as an investor, as they offer the closest (but still incomplete) gauge of what you'll earn over time.
The business ticker would show how much net income a company earned in the last 24 hours.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) earned $44.5 billion in net income over the last 12 months. That's an average of $121 million per day, or about $0.02 per share, per day.
So rather than seeing an Apple ticker that says, "AAPL $127.91 < 0.15 (0.34%)" it would say something like:
If this were online, customizable to each viewer, I'd set it to multiply each per-share figure by the number of shares you actually own. If you own 100 shares of Apple, your cut of net income would come out to $2 per day, and your dividends and buybacks would show up at $3 per day.
This could even be broken out out by the minute, with your portfolio updating exactly how much your share of your companies' net income has accrued to you. You can just sit there and watch the pennies accrue. It's like a ticker, but far more relevant -- and more entertaining, in my opinion.