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Andrew Sullivan moves to The Daily Beast

David Gura Apr 4, 2011

Andrew Sullivan moves to The Daily Beast

David Gura Apr 4, 2011

Jeremy Hobson: Today one of the biggest names in the blogosphere is moving to a new home. Andrew Sullivan, who attracted more than 1 million people per month to the website of The Atlantic is leaving for the Daily Beast.

Marketplace’s David Gura reports now on the value of a blogger.

David Gura: Two beagles, Dusty and Eddy, guard Andrew Sullivan’s loft. It’s spacious, but he feels more comfortable in his “blog cave,” behind a velvet curtain.

Andrew Sullivan: It’s a narrow room. It’s got a slate floor. Got two big windows and an old mission chair, covered in rugs.

Every morning, Sullivan downs coffee and ginger snaps as he wades into the web.

Sullivan: The belief is that everything that needs to be said now has already been said somewhere, we just have to find it.

And, he says, create a community conversation about it. Today, he moves that community to The Daily Beast. It’s paying him handsomely to bring in new visitors and online ad revenue. Edward Felsenthal is The Beast’s executive editor.

Edward Felsenthal: It’s not just about adding numbers to The Beast’s readership, although we’re glad for that. It’s about adding repeat visitors and engaged visitors and smart visitors.

The kind Fortune 500 companies love. College-educated, well-off readers who spend a lot of time on one site, if statistics from The Atlantic’s ad department are any indication. Almost five years ago, The Atlantic was an old magazine looking for online readers, when editor James Bennet brought Sullivan on board. Today, he says he’s sad to see Sullivan go.

James Bennet: He’s got a much bigger audience, we’ve got a much bigger audience, this has really worked really well for all of us. And we’re all going to be fine, we’re all going to be friends, and we’re all going to stay in the same fight to keep doing great journalism.

By the time Sullivan left, a quarter of the visitors to TheAtlantic.com read his blog. That helped the magazine sell more than $6 million worth of online ads — and turn a profit for the first time in years. Now, The Daily Beast gets to capitalize on Sullivan.

Sullivan: I love the idea of the possibility of individual writers, unknown writers, slowly building readerships through this chaotic world of the web, then finding a point, a tipping point.

Where a media company realizes they’re worth something.

In Washington, I’m David Gura for Marketplace.

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