Jim VandeHei made waves late last year when he implied that subscriptions to Axios, his new venture-funded media startup, would cost as much as $10,000. But VandeHei has also been adamant that advertising will be a piece of the site’s revenue puzzle. Here, he and longtime colleague Roy Schwartz, who headed up Politico’s finances for nearly a decade, discuss the native ad format they’re selling to advertisers, their plans for video, site personalization, and how much any publisher can learn from experiments conducted during the recently concluded presidential election.
In some cases, their answers have been edited for brevity.
You both worked at Politico together for a long while, and you learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. How much of that went into Axios?
Roy Schwartz: This all came about from us stepping away. Jim and I took several months off, and we went all over the place, to California and elsewhere, learning about how people consume content.