"Andy who and how much?" you may be asking. Oh, you know Andy: that smiley, wry, floppy-haired "Saturday Night Live" cast member who is famous for his "digital shorts," including, most notably, his now-classic "Lazy Sunday," "D**k in a Box" and "I Ran" music videos.
Now, Samberg, as you may know, is a relative "SNL" newbie, and the show's executive producer, Lorne Michaels, is known for his tightfistedness. Historically, you never got rich working for Lorne; instead, you hoped to eventually strike it rich beyond "SNL," à la Will Ferrell, on the big screen. Only problem is, Samberg's debut summer comedy, "Hot Rod," wasn't exactly a blockbuster.
So how'd I come up with $342 million? Let me first state that the number might seem outlandish if you were to dully adhere to old-school accounting standards (such as RBA -- the largely discredited Reality-Based Accounting method) for determining the worth of any particular new-media brand (and make no mistake, Samberg is a rapidly rising new-media brand).
Until recently, new-media brands had to have some sort of quasi-Web-2.0-ish hook -- preferably something social-media-esque -- to get stratospheric valuations. And, sure, the bubbliest properties, such as Facebook -- which recently was determined to be worth one-hundred-million-trillion dollars, after Microsoft took a .00002% stake in it -- are squarely in that realm.
Well, Samberg definitely has Web 2.0 street cred; after all, his "Lazy Sunday," first released in December 2005, is widely credited with jump-starting YouTube. Then again, Samberg is producing rather traditional media -- the sort of media other "SNL" cast members have been grinding out for more than three decades: short comedy. He is, basically, a good old-fashioned content provider.
What's different about Samberg? Unlike his "SNL" forebears -- who used to distribute their comedy mostly through (pathetically enough) broadcast TV -- his comedy tends to get most of its distribution in digital form, in packets of 1s and 0s, which automatically makes it waaaaaay more valuable.
For now, Samberg doesn't really generate significant revenue for his employer, NBC, or additional compensation for himself when tens of millions of web surfers -- his "uniques" -- view his viral-video creations online. (Also, NBC technically owns his "SNL" work -- but keep in mind that "ownership" in cyberspace is a very elastic thing.) And his digital shorts, beyond their initial broadcast-TV incarnations, generally haven't been supported by advertising (although NBC, with its new Hulu.com site, is hoping to change that). But the relevant issue here is Samberg's PPRP (Potential Projected Revenue Potential) -- the metric that is key to his GVW (Guesstimated Virtual Worth).
I expect that my proprietary PPRP metric will revolutionize new-media valuation analytics. The beauty of PPRP is that its predictive value is in randomly predicting what other people might predict about a given new-media brand's value.
Other people, that is, such as Henry Blodget, the former Merrill Lynch analyst and Web 1.0 booster who was banned for life by the SEC for allegedly promoting internet stocks in public that he was trashing in private. As you may know, he's back on the scene with a blog, the very entertaining Silicon Alley Insider, which has the tagline "Digital Business, Live From New York." (I'd prefer "Live from New York, it's Digital Business!" -- but whatever.) Blodget is the blog's co-founder, CEO and editor in chief.
Silicon Alley Insider, founded this summer and still in beta, is already hugely buzzworthy in part because the site hasn't been shy about bestowing generous valuations on even the least Web-2.0-ish of internet properties. In September, for instance, Blodget wrote that money-losing news-and-opinion blog Huffington Post might have a value of $60 million. And in the summer, after Wired suggested a $100 million-plus price tag for Nick Denton's Gawker Media empire, Blodget's colleague Peter Kafka (I'm not kidding, that's really his last name) declared that number to be "within the realm of reasonable," based on rumored Gawker Media revenue of $6 million a year "and a 10x-20x multiple." A day later, Blodget offered a revised estimate of Gawker Media's annual revenue: $12.5 million. (Extrapolating from Kafka's math, Denton, based on his sole ownership of Gawker Media, would therefore be worth $200 million-plus.)
But back to Andy Samberg. To break it down, my Guesstimated Virtual Worth (GVW) for him is, as I said, based on my proprietary Potential Projected Revenue Potential (PPRP) metric -- which is revolutionary because, unlike the more traditional PRP (Projected Revenue Potential), it takes a more aggressive, forward-looking, post-realistic approach to revenue -- one that is more in keeping with the true potential of internet-distributed content. Instead of relying on the BPPPAR metric (Blindly Projected Potentially Possible Advertising Revenue) that has been popular the past 18 months or so, the PPRP relies on my newly developed BPBPPPAR metric (Blind Prediction of Blindly Projected Potentially Possible Advertising Revenue). The number I've come up with for that is $171 million.
Now double that number -- because Andy Samberg is cuter than Nick Denton and has even bigger hair than Arianna Huffington -- and voilà: $342 million.