Small Affiliates Still Growing

Despite loudly proclaiming doom, small affiliates seems to be riding the economic tsunami well.

Small affiliates are doing well, it seems, because they target niche markets and keep costs low. Start-up websiteswhich create and aggregate content about topics like sports, business and health, are recording sharp gains in visitors and revenue. Some are also landing distribution partnerships with big media brands eager for cheap content during the recession.

The number of visitors to sports Web site SB Nation, for instance, rose 15 percent from December to a total of 3.4 million in January, according to the company, even as unique visitors to the category of sports sites tracked by comScore Inc. fell 2 percent. SB Nation launched a partnership with Yahoo Inc.'s Yahoo Sports last week and has signed another deal with Gannett Co.'s USA Today.

"Consumer engagement is shifting toward niche-content experiences," Andrew Braccia, a partner at venture-capital firm Accel Partners, told the WSJ. Braccia, who sits on the board of SB Nation, added that "Three to five years from now, people will no longer be drawing a distinction between traditional forms of publishing and what we know as blogs today."

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