The New Republic Adds Blogs, Claims Ad Success Amid Hybrid Pay-Free Site

Just two months after adding a paid-only online subscription product, The New Republic has been trying to round itself out with four new, free-to-access blogs this month. The latest is Citizen Cohn, which will house the domestic policy musings of senior editor and “health care expert” Jonathan Cohn. It was preceded by Goal Post, which publisher Mike Rancilio sharply described as a “highbrow blog for soccer dorks.”

The two other blogs that represent what TNR is calling a significant expansion on the web are the foreign policy-focused Entanglements and The In-House Critics, which serves an ombudsman role designed to “keep TNR intellectually honest.”

Back in April, the 96-year-old weekly introduced a new subscription-only product called TNR Society. The idea was to reward regular print subs with online-only content that was walled off to everyone else, though users could subscribe to the web offering for around $13 less than a total print/web package.

So far, Rancilio says that the mix of free and paid online content is working out pretty well. The mag claims that digital ad revenue increased by 125 percent for the first half of 2010 over the same period last year, though TNR wouldn’t provide dollar figures. It’s safe to assume that those numbers will remain pretty small; plus, nearly every publication is doing better than last year. Nevertheless, a 125 percent revenue gain is always a victory.

On the traffic side, uniques are up 45 percent and online subscriptions have doubled, the publisher said, adding that combined online and print circ currently hovers between 52,000