Politico Net Signs On 60-Plus Papers

Less than three months after launching its content-sharing network, Politico has signed up more than 100 clients, including 67 newspapers.

Among those are all 27 Advance Publication daily papers, including The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and The Times-Picayune of New Orleans. Most will utilize the content on their Web sites.

“The more people who hear about it, the more they come to us,” said Jim Vandehei, Politico’s executive editor. “We have government news, analysis, and they get the content they like and share the revenue.”

Other newspapers that have signed up include: The Arizona Republic, The Des Moines Register, The Indianapolis Star, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. McClatchy has signed on to use the content for its Washington bureau Web site.

Word of Politico’s success comes as The Associated Press is facing some unhappy newspaper members who have given notice to not renew their contracts due to a new rate structure and other complaints. CNN, meanwhile, is meeting with 30 newspaper editors today in Atlanta to promote its own new wire service, CNN Wire.

Politico Network, which makes the political news Web site’s content available in exchange for advertising placement, launched Sept. 9, according to Beth Frerking, an assistant managing editor.

Newspapers and broadcast outlets utilize the content for their Web sites in exchange for placing advertisements provided by Politico, with revenue shared by both.

Frerking says different content packages are available that provide between five and 15 Politico items per week. The more content the client uses, the less their share of the ad revenue.

“We sell ads for the entire network and the revenue is based on how much you use, either 50 percent, 40 percent or 30 percent,” she explained. “Rather than charging you for it, it works like this.”

Politico, which also publishes a thrice-weekly print version in Washington, D.C., began in January 2007. Several months ago, it announced plans to expand to four days per week in print and boost circulation from 26,000 to 32,500.

The content-sharing approach began last summer when the political Web site partnered with two local papers at the Democratic and Republican conventions in Denver and St. Paul, Minn. The Denver Post and the St. Paul Pioneer Press, both MediaNews Group dailies, published content in exchange for shared ad revenue.

Once the Politico Network launched in September, Frerking said the news outlet had hoped to sign up 100 clients by the end of 2008. “We are already ahead of where we hoped to be,” she added.

Vandehei, who also expects his 95-person staff to grow to 105 in 2009, has no plans to customize content more for newspapers, although he added, “that may be an option down the road.”