artnet: Back to Red, Auction Volume Flat against Sotheby’s 27% Same Period Growth, Price Database Profitability Down by 40%

artnet has reported its six months’ financial results, and, unlike the Sotheby’s numbers that we commented on last week (see Sotheby’s report), its performance is disappointing. Revenue fell to the sum reported in the same period of last year, the firm returned to a net loss and its bet to grow on the back of its online auction offering is not (yet) working.

For more than three years, artnet has consistently said that while it faces declines in gallery membership and information sales, the firm’s growth should come from the online auction business unit that it launched a few years ago. Unfortunately for artnet, the timing for the online auction launch largely coincided with the global economic meltdown of 2008, and the company’s management asked for the benefit of the doubt on the question of whether its online art trading would prosper once economic recovery resumed.

To read the full article with data, please click here.

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2 Responses to artnet: Back to Red, Auction Volume Flat against Sotheby’s 27% Same Period Growth, Price Database Profitability Down by 40%

  1. Kevin Radell says:

    To Sergey and others at Skate.

    I chanced to read this article today about artnet’s woes. Though reasonably well researched, your analyst missed the obvious. artnet lost its engine, long-standing employee Bill Fine. I personally witnessed Bill bootstrap the auction business from only an idea to its highest level of sales around the time he was leaving to join Artinfo. In fact, every business line he touched at artnet, including the gallery network he conceived of back in the mid-1990s, advertising and then the online auctions, flourished on Bill’s watch. Gallery sales weakened over the past few years because everyone copied the business model. Advertising then kicked in to maintain revenue growth, followed by online auctions. Artinfo is very lucky to have this guy and I would look to strong performance wherever Bill is involved.

    Kevin Radell, former Senior Strategist Financial Products at artnet

    • skate's says:

      Kevin, thank you for your comment

      In fact, we did mention the fact of Mr Fine’s departure in the story, see at http://www.skatepress.com/?cat=133

      Yes, we also wish Bill Fine good luck at his new job at Artinfo, where historically monetization was even a bigger concern than at Artnet.

      Let’s try to catch-up in person in early November.

      Cheers
      Sergey Skaterschikov

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