Here is a rather lengthy announcement from Andrew Sullivan about how he is striking out on his own with a new blog that will sell subscriptions, not ads:
And so, as we contemplated the end of our contract with the Beast at the end of 2012, we faced a decision. As usual, we sought your input and the blogosphere’s – hence thenot-terribly subtle thread that explored whether online readers will ever pay for content, and how. The answer is: no one really knows. But as we debated and discussed that unknowable future, we felt more and more that getting readers to pay a small amount for content was the only truly solid future for online journalism. And since the Dish has, from its beginnings, attempted to pioneer exactly such a solid future for web journalism, we also felt we almost had a duty to try and see if we could help break some new ground.
The only completely clear and transparent way to do this, we concluded, was to become totally independent of other media entities and rely entirely on you for our salaries, health insurance, and legal, technological and accounting expenses…
So, as of February 1, we will revert to our old URL – www.andrewsullivan.com. All previous URLs will automatically redirect, so don’t worry about losing us. Until then, the Beast has generously agreed to keep us on so we can organize ourselves in time for the launch. In fact, Tina and Barry have been fully supportive of this decision once we made it, although we’re all sad to part ways.
Here’s the core principle: we want to create a place where readers – and readers alone – sustain the site. No bigger media companies will be subsidizing us; no venture capital will be sought to cushion our transition (unless my savings count as venture capital); and, most critically, no advertising will be getting in the way…
So for the next month, we’re going to offer you advance membership of the Dish for $19.99 a year, which translates to $1.67 a month, which is around a nickel a day. The meter won’t start until February, and the price won’t change then, but by pre-subscribing, you give us a crucial financial bridge to get to independence – and you’ll never notice a thing when the transition happens.
To be honest, we didn’t know where to set the price – we have almost no precedents for where we want to go – but $19.99 seemed the lowest compatible with a serious venture. We wanted to make this as affordable as possible, while maximizing revenues.
Maybe, just maybe, Sullivan can pull that off, with the readership he has. It will be interesting to see. Since the old-media business model collapsed some time back, everyone who wants to do journalism for a living in the future has been looking around for the new model. Sullivan says, “The point of doing this as simply and as purely as possible is precisely to forge a path other smaller blogs and sites can follow.”
And we smaller blogs will be watching.