Problems at Rumble (RUM)
Rumble (NASDAQ: RUM — $2.29 billion) describes itself as “a high growth, video sharing platform designed to help content creators manage, distribute, and monetize their content.” In reality, Rumble is largely YouTube for hyper-conservatives and it has struggled to move into mainstream content. Despite backing from Republican heavyweights, financial progress has been slow and the company’s key operating metrics appear dubious. Currently trading for ~170x revenue, Rumble shares may be priced to tumble.
Founded in 2013, Rumble’s transition to conservative politics happened in July 2020 after Republican Congressman Devin Nunes joined the platform. Today, Rumble is home to channels like NewsMax TV, One America News Network, and The Lindell Report by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.
To accelerate growth Rumble began paying creators to post on its platform and in an August 2021 press release said,
“Rumble is proud to welcome Tulsi Gabbard, Glenn Greenwald, Bridget Phetasy, Matt Orfalea, Siraj Hashmi, Mujahed Kobbe, Shant Mesrobian and Zaid Jilani to our video-sharing platform. These prominent new voices add to Rumble’s deep pool of content talent and further enhance the platform’s breadth and depth of offerings to our viewers…. Rumble has experienced massive growth in recent months. In just the past year, Rumble has experienced over a 25-fold increase in viewership – with no indication of slowing.”
Rumble’s CEO, founder, and controlling shareholder Chris Pavlovski added,
“Rumble was built on the belief that creators should be given equal opportunity to freely express themselves, reach their followers without restriction, and have access to the best tools the industry has to offer. Our newest additions are proof that the mission is succeeding.”
The Washington Post later reported that Rumble paid “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to have some creators join their platform. Despite big incentives and Rumble’s claims of rapid growth, many of those creators haven’t gone far on Rumble.
For example, comedian Bridget Phetasy’s last Rumble was on September 15 and got ~1,000 views, The Habib Bros by Siraj Hashmi and Mujahed Kobbe’s last video was titled “Muslims join Christians to protest WOKE Schools” and got 100 views, and Shant Mesrobian & Zaid Jilani’s joint channel hasn’t posted in the last four months.
Nonetheless, in an August 2022 interview on Fox Business, CEO Pavlovski again highlighted the company’s rapid growth and said,
“We just reported 35 million users in the United States in June of 2022, that’s at least 15% of YouTube’s market share in the United States…that’s pretty compelling. That means we have real audience, real size, and we are at 52 million [users] globally so we are really making a real run here.”
The Bear Cave has doubts.