In January, Robinhood announced the formation of Sherwood Media, a new subsidiary that will house its news and information divisions, and build on Snacks, its popular finance newsletter. Now, the company’s plans for the new arm appear to be taking shape.
Advertising and sponsorship appear to be a priority for the new publishing brand, with a prominent “advertise with us” label appearing on Sherwood’s holding page. This could enable Robinhood to build a new revenue stream from its media footprint (something more companies with content operations are trying to do) and potentially help it offset some of the revenue declines the fintech sector has been struggling with recently.
Last week Sherwood also published a host of open roles for the new brand, including for an executive editor. “Experience collaborating with business leadership in ad-run business models” is a component of some of the postings. The company is also hiring for a “client success manager” who will oversee the ad opportunities, which, based on the posting, will include newsletter sponsorships, native advertising, branded content, display media and experiential.
Based on those job postings it appears that key areas of coverage will include investments, markets and technology, and Sherwood is looking for reporters for those specific beats.
Robinhood has touted Sherwood’s “independence” from day one, pointing out that the subsidiary is legally its own entity, and promising it will operate independently. The company last week also published a set of “editorial principles,” which offer some more hints on what independence will mean fort the brand publication.
The principles state:
- “Sherwood’s editorial team aims to deliver news coverage that’s accurate and fair and free from real and perceived conflicts of interest.
- As a subsidiary, Sherwood Media is independent from Robinhood and takes great care to ensure our neutrality and credibility.
- When it comes to our parent company, Sherwood will cover Robinhood when we think it’s appropriate. But we won’t cover or incorporate data collected or published by Robinhood, or surveys it conducts or sponsors, including research about investing and financial trends or its customers. We will cover news about Robinhood’s competitors, just as we do any other company.”
The last one is particularly interesting as it’s a departure for the company, whose Snacks newsletter didn’t cover Robinhood at all before. It is also noteworthy that the publication will not cover data or research published by Robinhood; that is, it will actively avoid taking on a corporate blog role or republishing press releases. Robinhood Snacks has also quietly dropped “Robinhood” from its header, opting for just a Sherwood logo instead.
As brand publishing evolves, how companies manage the thorny issue of editorial independence is becoming an important factor. Many brand executives are trying to figure out how they can balance the needs of the business with creating a relatively independent publication that audiences perceive as objective. As brands try to gain credibility for their publications, independence is a handy word to throw around. Many publishers like Robinhood actively tout their independence as a way to show that they are different from the typical brand content that permeates the Internet.