Breaking Away

Andrew Sullivan, the blogging pioneer who has most recently worked for the Daily Beast, is setting up his own standalone shingle. His blog (which he writes with several other people, but which is still largely his voice) is going to be an independent site, with no Time, Atlantic or Daily Beast behind it. And he’s going to be blogging for a price: Beginning on Feb. 1, it will cost $19.99 a year to visit the site. (He stresses in his announcement post that this isn’t a paywall, but rather “a freemium-based meter,” but it still boils down to a paywall. Readers can read a limited number of longer posts before having to pay or hitting the wall.)

It’s going to be fascinating to see how this works. Sullivan’s name alone is a big enough brand to draw in audiences, so he’s clearly going to get a decent number of subscribers willing to pay $20 bucks a year for his mix of commentary, links and photos taken from people’s windows. But will he get enough to support himself and a staff? Will he change, enhance or expand his blogging style to warrant the price tab? And in two years, will he still be doing this solo, or will he have set up shop at BuzzFeed or joined the Awl network or somesuch? I don’t know, because no one really knows, but it will be an interesting experiment.

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