Politico’s first few days off Capitol Hill

When Allbright Communications bought the website Capital New York on Sept. 3, there were several questions floating around but mainly, there was doubt.

Allbright owns Politico, one of the powerhouses for political news in Washington D.C. Politico has come a long way since its inception in 2007 and grabs the attention of roughly 5 million Americans every month.  It also publishes a newspaper four days a week that is free to pick up and brings in a good percentage of its revenue through advertisements. According to BusinessWeek, “the ads that appear in Politico come in two flavors: issue-advocacy advertising, in which a group attempts to influence a specific bit of pending legislation; and corporate image advertising, in which a company tries to burnish its own reputation in Washington.”

Politico took on the project in order to revamp the site to be focused on New York City and State politics and media coverage, rather than hyperlocal reporting. It’s part of a larger mission to “colonize” and cover politics in large markets. If all goes well in New York, Politico is looking to further broaden its horizons.

But its plan for Capital New York, which relaunched on Dec. 3, is a bit more complicated in that the same type of advertisements New York’s political audiences is smaller and not nearly as charged as that of D.C.  Washington may be the nation’s capital but when it comes to fashion and culture, all eyes are on New York City.

The newly resurrected site also has three subscription services: City Pro, Albany Pro and Media Pro, which offer “the fastest, most accurate, and in-depth news from City Hall, Albany and the media business that you need to do your job and stay ahead of the game on all your information needs.” These subscriptions are meant to emulate the service, Politico Pro. However, it seems unlikely that the site will garner significant subscription revenue for such a new product.

Upon visiting the new Capital New York site, I was greeted by vast white space. While the site is full of New York stories, like it had promised, it just seems bare. But it is a clean design that isn’t bogged down by advertisements. Other than a small link to sponsored content in the navigation bar, there are no other ads to be found. It’s unclear whether Allbright has plans to roll out a print edition of Capital New York but it seems as the though the main focus is gather a loyal audience to keep the project going. It’ll be interesting to see the site’s statistics at the end of the month and if New Yorkers are legitimately looking for better coverage of their government.

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