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