Politico.com provides good barometer for state of online political advertising
Monday, August 18th, 2008
Politico.com is a huge success, writes Lindsey McPherson in the American Journalism Review. “In May, it had 3.5 million unique visitors and 25.1 million page views, according to Nielsen/Net Ratings. Editor & Publisher ranked Politico the 10th-most-visited newspaper site that month.”
The site IS highly regarded and highly trafficked. But read another way, Politico is a raging bonfire of greenbacks, a financial failure. Turns out, Politico.com piggybacks a tiny print publication — 27,000 copies published just three days a week — that happens to generate 150% more revenue than the site. As Ezra Klein sums up the situation:
Were they actually web only, they’d be losing catastrophic amounts of money. If The Politico was an experiment to see if people would read more stuff about politics, it was a success. But insofar as it sought a new business model that would bring economic viability to online reportage, it’s as adrift as everyone else.
A whole raft of aspiring publishing moguls are lined up expecting to get rich on politics this year — it’s gonna be interesting to see how many players are left come January 15, 2009 when they’ve made moderate profits (a few) or (mostly) abysmal losses and face an 18 month drought into the next election cycle.