Politico owner Robert Allbritton made his northward ambitions official on Sunday Night with the announcement that he had bought Capital New York. The sale, for an undisclosed sum, gives Allbritton a presence in the city as he expands Politico’s brand after selling eight of his television stations for nearly $1 billion in July. “I have very big ambitions for this publication: to do in New York what we did in Washington with POLITICO,” Allbritton wrote in a memo to Politico staff, per Politico’s Dylan Byers. Capital plans to expand its staff to more than 30 from its current eight, and to relaunch its website this fall.
For now, Politico executive editor Jim VandeHei will serve as president while Capital co-founders Josh Benson and Tom McGeveran will continue to run the editorial operation, while more Politico executives will come in on the business side. Benson and McGevern announced the sale on Capital Sunday:
What the new investment does, for one thing, is to put this publication on a stable financial footing, ensuring our ability to deliver quality local coverage over the long term. It also gives us the wherewithal to be much more ambitious than ever before about our editorial mission, which is to be a primary source of reporting for knowledgeable readers on the workings of the greatest city in the world.
The new Capital business model will rely on a combination of ads and subscriptions, similar to Politico, Byers reports. While nobody has said anything about how access to Capital’s content might change, The Wall Street Journal’s Keach Hagey pointed out that Politico is currently experimenting with a pay wall for its main site, and quoted Allbritton as saying “the model is changing” toward one that relies on readers paying for the kind of insider information in which Politico specializes. McGevern and Benson wrote that they would be introducing new revenue streams, but did not specify what those might be.