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Patch, the hyperlocal (and profitable) digital news platform, had its strongest month ever in March for both revenue and traffic, according to president Warren St. John.

Why it matters: The digital-only local news platform is an anomaly compared other local news publishers which are struggling amid steep advertising losses.

By the numbers: Last month Patch had nearly double its average page views (148 million vs. 85 million) across its network of local news sites and 48 million unique visitors compared with 30 million on average.

  • It says it added 150,000 email subscribers for the month, bringing its active total to 2.3 million.
  • Patch has added 4 full-time reporters to its editorial staff of 115 people in the last two weeks, along with four contractors. St. John says more hires are coming.

Details: Patch makes its money by converting casual readers to free "subscribers" and then selling site sponsorships around targeting those hyper-loyal readers. It also makes money selling access to events to hyper-localized calendars.

  • To boost engagement, it's tried to reduce ad load by removing "content recommendation" widget from its article pages, which St. John says has significantly helped its page load time and search performance.
  • Advertisers like Amazon's home security system Ring pay to be marquee sponsors of the Patch's network of local sites, which insulates Patch from having to solely deliver scaled, ad-based traffic.

Yes, but: The company also does sell programmatic advertising, and ad rates were down at the end of March, but St. John feels that the company has been able to use its other revenue sources to mostly cushion against that decline.

The big picture: The company, which just finished its fourth profitable year, is trying to figure out ways to give back during the pandemic.

  • It's recently made some of its paid products for businesses (featured classifieds and promoted calendar events) free to local businesses in its communities.

What's next: St. John says Patch is working on a beta to support local reporters who want to start their own local news publications.

Go deeper

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.

Bush labels Clyburn the “savior” for Democrats

House Majority Whip James Clyburn takes a selfie Wednesday with former President George W. Bush. Photo: Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush credited Rep. James Clyburn with being the "savior" of the Democratic Party, telling the South Carolinian at Wednesday's inauguration his endorsement allowed Joe Biden to win the party's presidential nomination.

Why it matters: The nation's last two-term Republican president also said Clyburn's nod allowed for the transfer of power, because he felt only Biden had the ability to unseat President Trump.