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Bloomberg Businessweek on the Franchising of Politico

CapitalProLogoFor major U.S. media markets such as Chicago and Los Angeles, there’s a lot riding on the Allbritton Communications purchase and re-branding of Capital New York. Per a feature article by Bloomberg Businessweek staff writer Felix Gillette, success here could pave the way for circa-2015 sites like Capital Chicago and Capital Los Angeles:

If the experiment succeeds, the Politico colonization will spread to other cities. “Essentially, this is the first experiment of taking Politico and exporting it somewhere else,” says [Politico/Capital New York CEO Jim] VandeHei.

Gillette shares some interesting numbers. Politico’s monthly Web traffic is, as one would expect, currently much more substantial than Capital New York’s (five million to 184,000). The more capitally important stats are those of Politico Pro, the subscriber service launched two years ago by Allbritton in D.C.

That’s where Capital New York is headed after the site’s Pro services free-trial period ends January 31. According to Gillette, around 80 full-time staffers deliver Politico Pro content and event streams to a base of 1,300 subscribing D.C. companies.

It’s always an impressive sign when someone like VandeHei can rise through the ranks to a point where a former boss, Roll Call‘s Susan Glasser, is now an employee (Glasser is the editor of Politico’s print magazine). While it’s obviously too early to tell whether, in the words of semi-skeptic David Carr, the “incrementalism” that made Politico a must-read on D.C. Blackberries will transfer to the needs of iPhone toting New Yorkers, one thing from Gillette’s article is clear. Allbritton has hired in VandeHei someone who is up for the challenge.

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