"It represents a whole new revenue stream for us," he says. "I don't want to overstate that, because it's a brand- new product and we only have a handful of customers, but it's totally incremental—nothing that Ricochet does is cannibalistic to our other revenue lines. It does nothing to interfere with or cannibalize the ad sales on our website or in our newspaper. It does nothing to interfere with the paid [subscription] model. In fact, the Ricochet links are all free because they are external links, so that can be synergistic with both of those existing revenue models. It just seems like a good business idea and a business idea that we were uniquely in a position to offer to the marketplace given the depth and breath of the content we have here at the Times Company."
For some companies, the goal of advertising is to publicize lesser-known strengths to an audience likely to appreciate them—another job hard to accomplish with a terse display ad (or even 30-second spot). With an audience of well-schooled influencers and coverage of the sustainability and technology beat, The Atlantic seemed to Fidelity Investments a good publisher to help it do just that.
"They have an incredible amount of internal expertise with sector analysts on a variety of topics," Jay Lauf, publisher and vice president of The Atlantic, says. "Whether water issues or synthetic biology, they have a lot of content they've created … They want to get that story out, to let the world know Fidelity is not just the place where your 401K resides when you start a new job."
To help Fidelity spread the word, The Atlantic created ways to embed sponsored content natively into its Web templates. "It behaves the same way as editorial content, meaning it's shareable, linkable, findable and embedded in the CMS," Lauf says. "It's a dynamic way to get a richer story out to the readership."