January 17, 2013
( J. Scott Applewhite / The Associated Press)
( J. Scott Applewhite / The Associated Press)

Second in a series of 51 to 55 blog posts on Capitol Hill publications.

The leaders of Politico have never lacked confidence. “I think we’ll show that we’re better than The New York Times or The Washington Post,” said Jim VandeHei in an interview with the New York Observer in November 2006.

That was just a couple of months before VandeHei and John Harris, two one-time political staffers for the Washington Post, launched “The Politico” from the Rosslyn offices of Allbritton Communications Co. in January 2007.

And even though VandeHei targeted the Washington Post and the New York Times journalistically, Politico has additional competitors on the business side of things. For six years it has been contesting ad buys against traditional outfits like CQ Roll Call, the merged result of Congressional Quarterly, which since 1945 delivered weekly coverage and tracking of legislation, and Roll Call, commonly referred to as the “campus newspaper” of Congress; National Journal, a journal and website covering political and policy trends; The Hill, a small-format free-circulation newspaper; not to mention the Post and a growing number of publications looking to tap into the Washington $100 million-plus advocacy advertising market.

And the very braggadocio that VandeHei introduced to the marketplace has spread around:

Politico’s John Harris: “We are clearly dominant. That’s my understanding of our place in the marketplace.”

CQ Roll Call’s Keith White: “We … view ourselves as the market leader and we will remain the market leader.”

Kris Coratti of the Washington Post: “There are plenty of new competitors in the market, but we are still number one in readership among government and opinion leaders and number one in revenue by a wide margin.”

Justin B. Smith of Atlantic Media, which includes National Journal: “NJ is the market leader of the hybrid advertising and subscription model and is, in my view, the leading innovator when it comes to business model transformation (due to our membership strategy). Politico leads the pack as an ad-only model, having recently displaced Roll Call, though they are growing a new trade subscription business with Politico Pro. And CQ is the leader in terms of a data-driven subscription-only business, with BGov as a new, formidable competitor entering this segment.”

Game on, in other words.

The Series So Far:

One: Troubles ahead for Capitol Hill publications?

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.