Politico.com Profitable this Year….Has Most White House Coverage, John Harris

By on 06/14/2009 10:43 AM @beet_tv

Politico.com, the Washington-based, online news organization created by former Washington Post staffers in 2006, will become profitable this year, says John Harris,
editor and co-founder, in his interview with Beet.TV.

Politico We caught up on Tuesday with John Harris after his panel at the Advertising 2.0 conference here in New York.

He spoke about the early success of the organization's new syndication model and its video business. He says that covering the Obama administration is a very big opportunity for his organization and that Politico has the most reporters of any news organization covering the White House.

Andy Plesser, Executive Producer

You can also find Beet.TV up on the Huffington Post

 Video Transcript

John Harris:  Well we're experimenting with syndication in nontraditional way. We are not charging people for our content but there's a number of regional newspapers, not just newspapers, also some television websites that are interested in running our stories and we let them if they join our partnership, we let them run our stories in exchange for the right to sell against some of their content to let our advertisers go on their site. So that's attractive to editors who are looking for multiple sources of content, not just relying on the traditional syndication like the Associated Press. We give them another tool in their kit–they can run our stories to add depth to their own political report and it works for us. It gives us a wider range of options to advertisers. So it's an experiment. We're still in the research phase on this, but we think it's an intriguing, intriguing possibility that is, as I say, a different model of syndication than the just, the charge a fee per story model.

Andy Plesser:  Now you guys are having…you have some video. Tell us about little about the video strategy on the site and the syndication that goes along with that, perhaps.

John Harris:  Right, it's a strategy, if you want to call it that, that's been built almost by serendipity. We…we're discovering that videos when they were topical and interesting and newsworthy, were getting vast, vast numbers of traffic. More than we ever anticipated. And we saw this growing in a pretty remarkable way because when we first started Politico, our videos weren't terribly successful in terms of driving traffic. And maybe the audience is just evolving that rapidly; people are much more comfortable with clicking on a video even in the space of the past couple years than they were before.  And all of sudden we saw our video numbers just shoot through the roof, so anyway it became obvious that we should be doing more video and we're having success with advertisers selling that video so it works both, I think, as a journalistic idea and also as a business proposition.

Andy Plesser:  Well speaking about the business proposition, just tell us, you know, you are an advertiser, you're a free advertiser. How is that model working for you guys and how do you see the the business model developing?

John Harris:  Um, it works for us. We're an advertiser supported publication. We are, we started two and a half years ago, so we're in our third year. And we are on…we are profitable in our third year and we expect to finish the year as a profitable enterprise so I think that's an impressive achievement to build a fairly substantial journalistic operation that also can can reach profitability in year three. That makes us very encouraged by the particular model that we have. I think that there are, in journalism, a multitude of models that work and what works for us in Washington where there's a lot of people trying to…a lot of advertisers trying to get their messages across to policy makers and political elites, that's why our model's been successful. That's not necessarily applicable in other places. It may be, it may not be. I don't, and I don't think any of us at Politico see ourselves as trying to break some kind of code that's a unified field theory that's applicable in all cases. What what were focused on is, like, the task before us; we're…and we've seen that our business model, in our particular setting, in our niche, which is national politics and Washington governence, that works for us and so we're gonna continue to to develop that, which is advertiser supported journalism.

Andy Plesser: 
And you have a pretty good story ongoing with President Obama there.  There was no big drop off after the election? Some? How we doing?

John Harris:  The this was obviously a question that we we're giving a lot of thought to. We saw our traffic rise steadily through the 2008 election and clearly you know our, even our name as Politico, that people associate us with politics. We didn't know what would happen to traffic after the November election. Most of our campaign coverage has pivoted to White House coverage. So, we've got the largest team of reporters covering the Obama White House of any news organization. We find that there's intense interest in Washington for obvious reasons: 1) Washington is so much the focus of national policy making these days because of the economy and the other issues so it's, Washington's incredibly important in a way that sometimes it's not as the center of gravity moves to New York or elsewhere. So it's a big story and obviously there's intense interest in President Obama as a person, the history making dimension of it.  What that's meant for traffic is that ours has remained steady. We have higher traffic in the spring of 2009 than we had in the spring of 2008. Our traffic is not as high as it was in the very peak months–October, November of 2008–where the whole world was tuned into the US presidential election. That did give us a spike that we didn't expect would, would be sustained but, so we had a modest drop off and you know over time we're seeing our traffic stay on an upward trajectory.

Recent Videos
image
Beamly Wants To ‘Super-Charge’ Ads After Pivot ‘Step Change’

The social TV app formerly known as “Zeebox” has ambitions to offer advertisers new experiences, after rebranding to “Beamly” earlier this year. First launched in 2011, Zeebox helped viewers learn and talk about shows during live broadcast. But it expanded to VOD and a greater female ...

image
Second Screens Yield Vital Data for TV Networks

The next hurdle for second screen marketing lies in measuring consumer sentiment towards a TV show, says Alan Wolk, Chairman of Second Screen Society, in an interview with Beet.TV. That can be done by tapping into the treasure trove of data available via mobile phones that consumers use to interact with a ...

image
Addressable Tools Will Drive Programmatic TV, Videology’s Scott Ferber

Programmatic TV will be driven first by addressable tools, says Scott Ferber, Chairman and CEO of video advertising technology platform Videology, in an interview with Beet.TV. “The first step where programmatic and addressable will converge in the TV space is on the data side…understanding who ...

image
AOL Sees Growth in Programmatic TV with 58 Ad Campaigns Up

While programmatic TV buying operates in a just a small slice of the overall TV ad market, it is growing and advertisers are allocating budget.  AOL has some 58 advertising campaigns running in test mode, on its platform, says Bob Lord, Global CEO of AOL Platforms in this interview with Beet.TV We sat down ...

image
Out-Stream Gives Slate 10x Video Ad Boost

CHICAGO — Webzine Slate may be producing some video of its own nowadays but, as a text specialist, the outlet may never make enough to satisfy booming advertiser demand for video ad inventory. That’s why the publisher is using InRead, an ad format from vendor Teads which allows sites to inject ...

image
Cars.com’s Kraut Sees Ad Value In Data After Gannett Sale

CHICAGO — A couple of months after US news publisher Gannett finalized its purchase of the remainder of Cars.com, the autos classified site is revving up to combine data points and its new owner’s heft to sell ads. “There’s a lot of data … our advertisers would love to have the ability ...

image
AdTech Banker Kawaja: Video Ad Platforms Need To Differentiate

If you are tired of trying to distinguish one “end-to-end, full-service video targeting and decisioning” vendor from another, imagine how people from outside the digital video industry must feel. LUMA partners CEO Terence Kawaja says 2015 will see ongoing video tech momentum after the ...

image
Nielsen-Adobe Deal on Track for 2015 Digital Ratings

As consumer interest in watching authenticated TV rises, the ad business will look for better ways to measure video across screens, says Jeremy Helfand, VP Adobe Primetime at Adobe, in this interview with Beet.TV. About 10% of all authenticated TV content is viewed through an OTT device, underscoring the ...

image
WPP’s Modi to Deliver “Addressable” TV Ads Programmatically with Videology

Modi, the recently launched advanced TV unit of WPP’s GroupM, is working with video adtech company Videology to deliver television advertising to specific cable and satellite users in real-time, using programmatic ad decisioning technology, explains Jamie Power, Senior Partner at Modi, in this ...

image
Satisfying Readers Is Key To Content Marketing: Digitas’ Mark Book

CHICAGO — DigitasLbi’s “Perceptions Of Care” video campaign for Whirlpool has won rave reviews from ad watchers, after the agency worked with popular web publisher Upworthy to craft the campaign as a pair of videos. The campaign has generated some hefty social media views. So what was ...

image
More Data Needed For Personalized Ads: SMG’s Lichtenberg

CHICAGO — Digital ads can begin to reach individual consumers with specific messages based on unique characteristics – but only if computers know enough to target them, says one ad agency exec. “When I think about the future of video, I think about more personalized experiences,” SMG ...

image
The Problem With Video Pre-Rolls: Teads’ Jim Daily

CHICAGO — It’s only natural that online video advertising takes after television advertising – after all, both media are about moving pictures. But, whilst the forms may be similar, advertiser results can vary across each, according to a tech exec. “It’s a similar experience to what ...

loader