HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Jacobin: A Marxist rag run on a lot of petty-bourgeois hustle
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Nov. 7, 2008, 6:58 a.m.

How stealable is Politico’s success? Not very

Fishbowl DC has obtained an in-house Politico memo about the web site’s post-election future. Lots of interesting stuff, but I want to highlight a few points and what they tell us about their business model. (Politico is privately held, so hard numbers are hard to come by.)

In our first 21 months, Politico has frequently achieved profitability as measured on a monthly scale. (When Congress is in session, our ad revenue is higher.) Our goal for 2009 — one we fully expect to achieve — is profitability on an annual basis.

An important point: Politico actually has two different cyclical advertising sources: campaign advertising and lobbyist/political influence advertising. While the first has just vanished, the second is about to ramp us, as a new set of political players arrive in Washington.

Our average monthly revenue in 2008 grew by 105 percent over 2007 — an increase powered heavily by our print edition, which has become a must-buy for any advertiser trying to sway opinion on Capitol Hill.

That’s a reminder that while 95+ percent of its readers get Politico online, the vast majority of its revenue still comes from its thrice-weekly print newspaper, which is free in sidewalk boxes around D.C. With millions of readers online and only 23,000 in print, Politico still generates 60 percent of revenues from the print product.

For all our satisfaction with these numbers, is important to be realistic about traffic. We have no doubt that traffic will dip — how much, we don’t know — following the election. When it does, this won’t be cause for alarm. The reason is that Politico’s business success — what will sustain our editorial success over the long haul — is not primarily dependent on a mass audience. The main part of our revenue, in print and online, comes from advertisers who want to reach our audience of Washington influentials — and know that the best way to do it is to buy space next to coverage that has impact and that people are actually reading.

This, I think, is why Politico’s apparent success is less useful as a direct model for other publications that one might hope. They have a very unique readership that lobbyists and interest groups will pay top dollar to reach. That’s great for them — I’m just saying it’s not an easy model to duplicate in Scranton, or even Chicago.

POSTED     Nov. 7, 2008, 6:58 a.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Jacobin: A Marxist rag run on a lot of petty-bourgeois hustle
For Bhaskar Sunkara, the success of Jacobin as a magazine is an unlikely means to a political end.
Like it or not, native advertising is squarely inside the big news tent
Maybe it’s just a new iteration on the advertorials newspapers and magazines have run for decades. Maybe it’s a scurrilous devaluation of journalism. Either way, it’s here, and at the highest levels of the business.
n+1: Learning that print and digital can peacefully coexist
A look at how n+1, celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, built its reputation and maintains its business.
What to read next
749
tweets
How a Norwegian public radio station is using Snapchat to connect young listeners with news
“A lot of people check their phones before they get out of the bed in the morning, and they check social media before the news sites.”
723When it comes to chasing clicks, journalists say one thing but feel pressure to do another
Newsroom ethnographer Angèle Christin studied digital publications in France and the U.S. in order to compare how performance metrics influence culture.
680Wearables could make the “glance” a new subatomic unit of news
“The audience wants to go faster. This can’t be solved with responsive design; it demands an original approach, certainly at the start.”
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Media Consortium
Gotham Gazette
CNN
Creative Commons
Politico
MediaNews Group
Ushahidi
The Wall Street Journal
National Journal
The Boston Globe
AOL
Poynter Institute