Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Dude Web Site Publisher Breaks Into Games (Heh heh. Heh heh.)

For the past several years, Keith Richman has run a Web publishing company that specializes in video and stuff for dudes. Which means he ought to be struggling and/or out of business by now–both sectors have had way too many competitors chasing not nearly enough ad dollars.

Not so, says Richman. He won’t divulge numbers, but says his Break Media has seen revenue climb 40 percent in the last year and is sort-of profitable (sort-of technical term: “Ebitda profitable”) to boot. and its associated sites (, HolyTaco, etc.) have plenty of competition from the likes of College Humor and Heavy et al–not to mention Google’s (GOOG) YouTube and Hulu–but they’re holding up quite nicely: ComScore (SCOR) pegs their audience at six million monthly uniques. Just as important: Minority owner Lionsgate Entertainment (LGF), which plunked down $21 million for a 40 percent stake in the company in 2007, doesn’t seem to be demanding a payout anytime soon.

Richman is now tackling another market that already has way too many competitors: Social games, dominated by the likes of Zynga, Electronics Arts (ERTS), and Playfish, etc.

No matter. Richman has hired a staff of 13 to kick off his games effort–you can get a taste of what he’s up to here–and says he’ll have a staff of 30 by March (most of them will be in China). Richman’s idea is simple: These games are hot now, but they’re only going to become bigger, so best to jump in while you still can.

Plus, you can iterate through this stuff pretty quickly–Richman’s team put together a supercrude and pretty popular “Tiger Woods Wife Outrun” game within three days of Woods’s car crash last fall–so the sooner you start, the more you can learn.

We talked about all of this in a brief chat last week in New York:

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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”