clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Politico co-founder’s new media startup is eyeing $10,000 subscriptions — eventually

Advertising to start, then big-money subscriptions.

Axios founder Jim VandeHei
Becca Farsace for Recode
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

We still don’t know a lot about Axios, the yet-to-launch media startup founded by Politico co-founder and former CEO Jim VandeHei. But we do know it’ll be expensive.

VandeHei is envisioning subscribers paying $10,000 or more for some of the startup’s news and analysis, he told Kara Swisher onstage at Recode’s Evening with Code Media on Wednesday night in New York City.

The one-time Washington Post journalist said he can’t imagine being “super intrigued with a subscription less than $10,000.” He declined to offer more specifics.

The company’s coverage will center on business, technology, politics and media. It will also focus, as many media companies do, on putting content in front of readers on the social networks where they are already spending a lot of time. Specifically, VandeHei spoke highly of Snapchat’s media platform, called Discover.

VandeHei also stressed that Axios will value brevity in its coverage over length for length’s sake.

“Journalists are writing for journalists. That’s the biggest problem in media right now,” he said.

“People don’t want the pieces we’re writing,” he added. “They’re too damn long.”

At launch, Axios will be free to readers and supported by advertising. Two to three years down the line, VandeHei is targeting around 50 percent of revenue from advertising, and the other half from subscriptions and events. That’s a ratio he accomplished in his 10-year run at Politico, where some Politico news is free while some falls under expensive Politico Pro subscriptions.

“You have to have a free dimension, I think,” he said. “It helps building a brand.”

Though it hasn’t launched, Axios already has 27 employees. Among the best known are former Politico mainstay Mike Allen, former Fortune tech and deals columnist Dan Primack, and Kim Hart, a former Politico editor who most recently ran communications for the Federal Communications Commission. The company hopes to have 50 employees when it launches early next year, VandeHei said in an earlier interview.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.