More happy financial tidings with the close of 2009: Politico is making money. It saw a profit of a $1 million “or more” in the last calendar year, according to Paid Content.
Michael Wolff analyzed the Politico m.o.–the granularity, the speed, the strategy of “owning the Washington morning”–in last August’s Vanity Fair. He pointed out the site’s complex relationship to other media:
Politico’s writers and editors do several hundred cable appearances a week. They are becoming a one-stop source for Washington news. Politico is like an old newswire, except that it is more specialized, and focused, and fast-and it has faces. And, more important, it’s free-and, unlike the teeth-gnashing old-line news companies, it has no plans or desire to charge (it will benefit from other organizations’ charging, and, accordingly, undermine them).
But even if Politico’s success testifies to print’s demise, print advertising remains the best way to make money. The paper version of Politico had a circulation of 32,000 by Wolff’s estimate, and matched the web site’s revenue. The more recent numbers show an even bigger gap–$11,252,410 versus $7,345,000.