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Politico founder to shut down struggling tech site Protocol


Protocol, the two-year-old technology news website launched by former Politico owner and publisher Robert Allbritton, is shutting down.

Staffers were informed at an all-hands meeting Tuesday that the positioning will stop publishing on Thursday, CNN first reported.

Protocol’s flagship newsletter, Source Code, will proceed to operate for “several more weeks,” but its various other newsletters will shut down immediately, CNN said.

The location’s roughly 60 staffers will probably be let go after Dec. 16 and will probably be eligible for eight weeks of severance, sources told CNN.

A rep for the corporate confirmed to The Post that Protocol will shut down.

Media mogul Allbritton launched Protocol in 2020 as a companion to Politico, which he funded with $50 million in 2018.

Robert Allbritton launched Protocol in 2019 within the hopes of replicating Politico’s successful business model.Getty Images

“I might love for this to be as big as, if not larger than, Politico is immediately,” Allbritton told Vanity Fair in 2019.

But Protocol, which covers tech-related news from streaming and artificial intelligence to gaming and electric vehicles, never gained traction. The location faced massive headwinds, launching in the course of the global pandemic, a time when promoting budgets were squeezed and spending was curtailed, which led to job cuts.

In 2021, Allbritton sold Politico to German publisher Axel Springer, which resulted in Protocol being folded into Politico Media Group. Since then, Politico Media’s CEO Goli Sheikholeslami has been working with Axel Springer on a long-term review of the corporate to grow its footprint.

Screen shot of Protocol.comProtocol, which was launched by Politico founder Robert Allbritton, is closing down.Protocol

Sources told CNN that they’ve planned to double the scale of the corporate by 2027, but that weakness within the tech sector had dampened Protocol’s future.

“The fact is that the ad market tightened, particularly within the tech space, which exacerbated some existing challenges which can be typical of a latest startup,” an anonymous source said.

Protocol “significantly” missed revenue targets in 2022 and the economic outlook for 2023 is looking tough, sources said, explaining the choice to shutter the positioning.

The corporate said Politico will beef up its tech coverage as a substitute. As a part of the plan, Sheikholeslami said the corporate can even mix Politico US and EU to form one operational company with one single executive team.

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