Results: Big Picture Reader Survey

As promised, here are the results of the survey we did on Monday.

Thank you again to everyone who participated in this survey: Over 2000 of you responded, and the results are quite intriguing. Kudos to Survey Gizmo for putting together a nice product — very simple and easy to use. (I am sure I could have done a better job if I actually read the instructions)

In many cases, I did not show the full set of answers — too many one offs to fit neatly on a web page . . .  but where possible, I gave the top few answers, down to ~1%.

When someone asked me "Who are your readers," I could only answer in the most general of terms. Michelle over at Footnoted suggested doing a survey, and hence, here we are.


This was quite an interesting experiment; Please feel free to make suggestions for other ideas/questions/quiz ideas/concepts in the comments.   


Long ass page continues after the jump . .  .

Report: Final Summary Report

Survey:  Big Picture Reader Survey    Compiled:  10/30/2007

1. How frequently do you read The Big Picture?














Value Count Percent %
Daily 1484 72%
Several times per week 518 25%
Once a week 43 2%
Less frequently 24 1%


2. How do you access The Big Picture?





























Value Count Percent %
Directly from the site 1743 84%
via RSS feed/news aggregator 247 12%
Calculated Risk:Other 8 0%
email 6 0%
Real Money 4 0%
Other:Other 3 0%
cunning realist:Other 2 0%
calculatedrisk:Other 2 0%
ml-implode:Other 2 0%

3. What time of day do you generally check the site?














Value Count Percent %
During U.S. market hours 1254 61%
Later in the evening 312 15%
Pre-market 260 13%
After the U.S. close 224 11%


4. What are your primary reasons for using The Big Picture?























Value Count Percent %
Macro-economic commentary 1181 57%
General financial education 603 29%
Get investing ideas 93 5%
Monitor risk for specific stocks or sectors 69 3%
Entertainment / gossip 29 1%
all of the above:Other 15 1%
Participate in comments discussions 6 0%



5. Have you ever made an investment decision based on anything you’ve read on The Big Picture?








Value Count Percent %
No 1493 73%
Yes 559 27%


6. Which of the following changes/additions to the site would you most like to see?


























Value Count Percent %
More Macro-economic commentary 569 30%
None of the above 412 22%
More Market specific commentary 271 14%
More company/sector specific discussions 219 12%
Site updated more frequently with shorter posts 177 9%
Less frequent but more detailed posts 121 6%
More entertainment features like Friday Night Jazz 22 1%
H:Other 6 0%

Considering all of the financial information you read, what percentage comes from each of the following sources?

Please enter the percentages (up to 100%) that indicate how you use your annual research budget:


Item Low High # Responses Line Average Overall Average
Daily newspapers (WSJ, NYT) 0 100 1514 22.10 17.9
Business magazines (e.g. Barron’s, Fortune) 0 100 1256 13.13 8.8
Financial websites (Marketwatch, 0 100 1508 25.26 20.4
Financial blogs 0 100 1682 33.82 30.4
Proprietary / subscription based service (e.g. Bloomberg) 0 100 868 23.52 10.9
Radio / TV 0 100 912 12.48 6.1
Other 0 100 491 17.68 4.6
Total Responses: 1872

7. How would you compare The Big Picture with other financial blogs  you read on a regular basis?

















Value Count Percent %
Much better 1145 58%
A little better 554 28%
About the same 220 11%
Not quite as good 38 2%
Not nearly as good 1 0%

8. Is your profession directly related to money management or 
financial oversight?








Value Count Percent %
No 1308 67%
Yes 658 33%

9. Which of the following best describes your profession?
































Value Count Percent %
Individual Investor 566 34%
Analyst/Strategist/Economist 174 10%
Fund/Money Manager 140 8%
Trader 132 8%
H:Other 110 7%
Financial advisor/broker 102 6%
CPA/Attorney 85 5%
CEO, CFO or other corporate officer 67 4%
engineer:Other 38 2%
IT:Other 17 1%

10. What other subscription-based services do you currently subscribe to?















































Value Count Percent %
WSJ 393 29%
Investment newsletters 195 14%
Bloomberg 162 12%
NYT 130 10%
none:Other 93 7%
Real Money/ 66 5%
Other 61 4%
Morningstar 52 4%
Thomson/Reuters 30 2%
IBD: 15 1%
Barrons 15 1%
The Economist 9 1%
F 7 1%
Financial Times:Other 7 1%
All of the above:Other 6 0%


11. In terms of investable assets, I control or provide advice for

















Value Count Percent %
Under $250,000 694 39%
Under $1 million 439 25%
Over $10 million 298 17%
$1 million to $5 million 290 16%
$5 million to $10 million 57 3%


12. Do you reside in …


















Value Count Percent %
United States 1691 86%
Europe 109 6%
Canada 88 4%
Asia 26 1%
Australia:Other 10 1%
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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. ken commented on Nov 2

    The most interesting item in this survey is the extremely low number of subsribers to the WSJ. Given the interests and professions of the survey population I would have expected something closer to an 80% subscription rate, certainly above 60%. I believe that would have been true in the past.

    Fully 57% of Barry’s audience value TBP for insights on macro-economic trends. Isn’t his something the WSJ used to be counted on to provide? What happened? Is the Journal’s time past? Would Murdoch be better off cancelling his purchase of the WSJ and buying into THE BIG PICTURE instead?

  2. joe commented on Nov 2

    Interesting that both financial blogs and financial websites rank higher than daily newspapers in terms of sources of financial info. I would have guessed that WSJ was far and away the #1 source.

  3. michael schumacher commented on Nov 2

    while the WSJ is no beacon of light in a sea of darkness…..the acqusition by “Rupert” will have had the effect of keeping alot of readers looking for something else.

    We have’nt seen the Page 3 girl in the WSJ yet???-LOL

    With the “story’ about Cayne and his alledged pot smoking (seems you can lie, cheat, be dishonest, not show up for work, play golf when your fifedom is cracking BUT YOU CANNOT SMOKE A JOINT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES)

    Are they just pissed that is was’nt Coke???


  4. KP commented on Nov 2

    The journal has zero creditability with Rupert at the helm. It used to be mostly a garden for planted stories with occasional useful articles, now it’s just full of manure.

    My worst fear is that the Big Picture becomes a victim of its own success. Find a way to stay hungry.

  5. Arpo commented on Nov 2

    It would be interesting to see how the reader type breaksdown depending on its nationality (IMHO).

  6. Arpo commented on Nov 2

    It would be interesting to see how the reader type breaksdown depending on its nationality (IMHO).

  7. Arpo commented on Nov 2

    It would be interesting to see how the reader type breaksdown depending on its nationality (IMHO).

  8. Charles commented on Nov 2

    Some of the results may be slightly off since (at least for me) there was no way to select multiple items, so WSJ readership may be higher, but just not tracked since they selected another option.

  9. TK commented on Nov 2

    Agree with Charles – I use many different subscription sources frequently, but could only choose one.

    I’m surprised not more people made investment decisions based on their readings of TBP: surely part of their investment decisions are based on macro outlook, and 57% of those surveyed read TBP for its macro commentary. Could be logical fallacy on my part.

  10. mhm commented on Nov 2

    The question “ever invested based on the TBP” was too dry cut. It should be “how TBP influences your investment decisions”: none, a little, some, a lot, totally dominates.

    I said no, though sometimes the sentiment (both article and discussion) have some weight on a decision to get/stay long/short/out.

  11. techy2468 commented on Nov 2

    survey needs to be redone with check boxes instead of radio buttons.

    in other words, we need to be able to select multiple choices instead of just limited to one

  12. crack commented on Nov 2

    WSJ costs money, TBP is free. Better product for free = lots of readers.

  13. The Financial Philosopher commented on Nov 2

    I imagine consideration will be given to the fact that all of those participants in the survey are TBP readers AND financial blog readers to some degree…

    I find the 30% research “allocation” to reading blogs is interesting, especially since blogs are primarily opinion and ego-driven, which makes for considerable more “noise” to filter. I follow about 5 blogs (not including my own) and only two are financial. I wonder how many blogs the typical blog-reader follows? 10? 20? 50?

    Personally, I completed the survey because TBP is among the “best of the best” financial blogs out there; however (Barry, you know what I’m talking about here) I believe Simon’s “poverty of attention” is truly a factor like never before…

  14. JWC commented on Nov 2

    I’m a somewhat typical blog reader, and I read 10 – 20 blogs a day, with better than half of them related to things political. But TBP is the first of the financial places I stop… The best of the best, no doubt.

  15. ken h commented on Nov 2

    I missed the survey but agree that you are polling bloggers so…..kind of skewed info. Good info no less.

    I am from a much different field and use blogs to learn and get a better picture that is not spun golden. Sure a blog can be spun but i’ve gotten good at sniffing out the trolls.

    I do believe this is the new medium but I’m sure the wallstreet pigs will figure out how to skew the info in their favor.

    Scary today how the market is looking like it finally gets it. Looks like a lack of trust? Uh Oh!

  16. Robert commented on Nov 2

    Good job, Barry, and keep it up!

  17. DavidDroll commented on Nov 3

    Look out below- market will slide:
    First it was just housing in trouble, then housing n Finance; then housing finance and Retail, Then add energy, n materials sectors.

    The Technical trend is down (cf. RSI, Slow Stoch, DMI)> Be careful out there people!

  18. Mike G. commented on Nov 3

    Well, the results are a bit skewed, I would think, towards the blog readers vs the dead tree readers because of the location of the survey – online vs an in-person sampling at some business/investing venue. That’s fine, just be aware of it when looking at the results.

    If you really want to kill a night/weekend looking at financial blogs, start at Trader Mike’s site and click on the “Blogs I read” section. Fantastic. Prepare to have your dinner delivered tonight. :)

  19. Greg0658 commented on Nov 4

    A client offered me a ticket to Learning Annex Wealth Expo. I attended FengShui/theSecret, Prop Tax Sales, Gov Grants.

    Most interesting show of hands (gov grants) (5:1 to 4:1 ratio) – small business owners in room : small business owners with employees. I’m in the majority.

    Endeavoring hands help TBP.

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