Tagged: paywalls

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.

NYTimes.com’s Plan To Charge People Money For Consuming Goods, Services Called Bold Business Move

NEW YORK—In a move that media executives, economic forecasters, and business analysts alike are calling “extremely bold,” NYTimes.com put into place a groundbreaking new business model today in which the news website will charge people money to consume the goods and services it provides. “The whole idea of an American business trying to make a profit off of a product its hired professionals create on a daily basis is a truly brave and intrepid strategy,” said media analyst Steve Messner, adding that NYTimes.com’s extremely risky new approach to commerce—wherein legal tender must be exchanged in order to receive a desired service—could drastically reduce the publication’s readership.

— The Onion really outdoes itself.

The logic of paywalls

In the wake of Instapaper’s unveiling of a subscription service, this read on paywalls is interesting. And while there are some good lessons to be found for newspapers, there’s a big difference between national news and local news; local news outlets covering small towns would need different setups than big, national outlets, which would themselves vary based on their target audiences. Anyway, that’s for a longer post.