Politico.com Launches Ad, Content Network

NEW YORK Politico.com has launched an advertising and content distribution network consisting of nearly 40 handpicked Web sites, ranging from local news to independent political news destinations.

The new Politico Network includes prominent newspapers such as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as local TV station Web sites and smaller aggregators like Breitbart.com. These partners carry Politico content within their designated political section and also serve advertising sold by Politico’s sales team. Politico and its partners share the revenue. On the back end, the venture is powered by Adify, the ascendant ad network services company that now enables more than 140 vertical networks.

Politico executives said the new network would be sold to advertisers as a means to reach high income, highly influential males on the Web in an environment other than business and sports. While individual partners will have the option to sell their own ads alongside the Politico content, the thinking is that Politico’s team will be able to reel in more high-end national brands. For example, where a local newspaper might carry ads from local GM dealers, “When we talk to a brand like GM, we’re probably talking to them about Buick,” said Roy Schwartz, Politico’s vp, business development.

Besides access to different advertisers, the network’s members — particularly newspaper and TV station sites — gain access to political coverage during a time when newsrooms are shrinking but interest in The Beltway is surging. “A lot of newspapers are scaling back their Washington bureaus,” said Schwartz.

Politico is growing. The site has 100 employees, and in August during the heated coverage of both parties’ conventions, the audience jumped past the 7 million mark for the first time, according to Schwartz (Nielsen Online said that Politico.com reached 2.4 million unique users in June, up 43.3 percent versus last year).

Schwartz said the network is set to expand in the near future: “What we are doing here is very different [than other ad networks]. We’re going after very large sites, but what they don’t necessarily do is concentrate on politics. This is very unique.”