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    Advertisers Still Prefer Print to Online

    by Gail Robinson
    January 6, 2010

    A rare bit of good financial news for journalism points once again to the difficulty of financing online media.

    PaidContent reported this week that Politico raked in more than $20 million last year, finishing with operating profits of about $1 million.

    That’s the good news. But as Molly Fischer wrote in the New York Observer, Politico’s print publication — something few of us outside the Beltway ever see — accounted for 60 percent of operating revenues. This was the case even though the paper version has an estimated circulation of 32,000 compared to the more than 3 million unique visitors estimated to visit the website every month.

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    As Fischer said, “Even if Politico’s success testifies to print’s demise, print advertising remains the best way to make money.”

    Politico, of course, is fortunate enough to have both a print and web presence. Those of us at web-only publications (such as Gotham Gazette) cannot help but be frustrated by seeing ads — and revenue — going to print publications that may have fewer readers and weaker content.

    People like seeing their ads on coffee tables — particularly on the mayor’s coffee table, as an ad salesperson told me when I wondered why Gotham Gazette did not get more image ads from unions and advocacy groups. So far, it seems, even the people at Politico have not been able to break that habit.

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    Tagged: advertising gotham gazette online ads politico print revenue
    • Tracy9999

      I would personally like to see my advertisement on print.

      Tracy, Status Now

    • Gail,
      Have you ever considered doing a print issue of the Gotham Gazette?

      The technology to go from the XML on the website to print on paper is now well developed. I would think there are any number of community papers in New York who would welcome a free standing insert with Gotham Gazette copy.

      I don’t think it would be that hard to do some kind of revenue split. Perhaps you get to sell 70% of the ads, the local paper gets to sell 30%. Free standing inserts are a standard way of doing business.

      If you’re interested in chatting about how this might work, please get in touch. The best way for me is at twitter @ToughLoveforX .

    • Not to toot our horn, but this is exactly what lead us to the Printcasting idea. It allows you to have something similar to a print publication that is delivered online and printed at home by each subscriber, and/or printed en masse by you at a local copy shop. It’s not exactly the same as a “print edition,” but more like a cross between an e-newsletter and printed newsletter. And Printcasting has a self-service advertising tool. Printcasting is also free, and if you get advertisers to use it you’ll make money to boot.

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