Al Gore's Convenient IPO
By Ron Grover
CurrentTV's parent is launching a public offering whose terms, though sweet for the company's high-profile founder, may be inconvenient for investors
What's an Emmy worth? If you're former Vice-President Al Gore, it's worth just north of $1 million a year and roughly another $48 million in stock. That's a hefty sum for a guy who of late has traveled the globe as a goodwill ambassador for mankind, stressing the need for humanity to wake up to the dangers of global warming.
Where's Gore getting the dough? From a tiny, lightly watched cable TV channel called CurrentTV. The channel is seen in roughly 19 million U.S. homes (about one-quarter the viewers of ESPN or CNN) and over the last three years has lost $31.5 million while increasing revenues to $53.5 million from $23.4 million three years ago. Still, CurrentTV may be the next hot thing—it won the Emmy last year for its ability to present a forum for user-generated content from its mostly younger viewers. "It is true participatory media," Gore told me in a Beverly Hills hotel room the day after the Emmy presentation, grasping the gold statue as he spoke.