Newsmax Media Wants Advertisers to Take Aim at Rich Republicans

ClickZ_Campaign08_katefinal.jpgNewsmax Media wants you to target rich Republicans — with ads, that is. The conservative news site has launched a multimedia campaign aimed at advertisers and their agencies. The mission is to convince them that, despite any country-bumpkin stereotypes, red-staters have money and they know how to spend it.

A lot of advertising execs think “people that tend to be Republican might be a little bit like Archie Bunker,” said Newsmax Media President and CEO Christopher Ruddy. But the publishing firm intends to alter that perception through a Web, e-mail and print campaign launched about a month ago. The campaign is set to run for another three months or so.

It’s “aimed at advertisers interested in reaching a very lucrative market we think has been overlooked by Madison Avenue,” Ruddy explained.

“Whether you like their politics or not, rich Republicans spend big on high-end products and services,” declares the campaign landing page linked to banners and e-mail ads from publications including Campaigns & Elections, DM News, and other advertising trade publications. An ad run in the print version of Advertising Age is also planned.

Ruddy agreed the “rich Republican” message is less than subtle, and admittedly tongue-in-cheek commentary about people on the political right often categorizes them as “rich capitalists” or “rich Republicans.” But when it comes to the broad group as a market demographic, he said, there is some truth to those conceptions.

“The ‘rich Republican’ [categorization] resonates because it’s a very powerful demographic,” he said. “Ultimately, people want to do business and make money, and politics is a secondary issue.”

To measure its audience demographics, Newsmax cites a study by Informative which found 62 percent of its readers have a college degree, 41 percent have a net worth of more than $250,000 and 90 percent are active donors.

According to Hitwise, the site garnered about 0.9 percent of US market share of visits in the week ending January 26, 2008, up about 9 percent from the same period the year before. Newsmax’s audience is comprised of about 66 percent men, according to the Web site audience measurement firm. Nielsen Online data show the site attracted about 2.2 million unique visitors December 2007.

As part of its campaign, Newsmax is offering advertisers a half-price e-mail advertising test. “Find out how your next marketing or fundraising campaign can benefit from reaching 4 million rich Republicans,” suggests the promotion.

The fundraising element, particularly during election season, is obviously aimed at advocacy organizations and candidate campaigns. However, Ruddy stressed, “Most of our advertisers are not political.”

Indeed, although ads for Republican frontrunners John McCain and Mitt Romney have run on Newsmax, Ruddy said, “We prefer not having the site dominated by political advertising.” Romney and McCain ads were also seen during the primary season on conservative news sites and National Review Online.

Ruddy said the privately-held, 10-year-old publishing firm is going after “big-ticket” advertisers in the luxury, travel, high-end international real estate, and financial categories. Advertisers include the seller of a $14,000 workout machine, QuickGym.

The site offers standard IAB units at a CPM rate of between $2.50 and $4.50, according to its rate card. One unique offering is the “sponsor headline,” a hyperlinked text ad displayed across the top of all the pages on the site. Yesterday, an ad for the “Blaylock Wellness Report” could be seen. The paused news ticker style ad exclaimed, “Latest: Cholesterol Myth Exploded, Inflammation is MORE Important.” The sponsor headlines cost $2,000 per week or $6,500 per month. The site also places ads in its e-mail alerts and sends e-mails on behalf of advertisers.

According to Ruddy, about 80 percent of the site’s ad inventory is sold direct, while the remaining remnant inventory is sold via ad networks, mainly Google AdSense. The firm has about 10 ad sales staffers.

Despite the economic downturn, he said he’s betting the flow of ad dollars from traditional to digital media will benefit the site in the coming year, when the firm expects to collect about $16 million in online ad revenue, around 65 percent of the $25 million in total revenue Newsmax expects in ’08.

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