[T]he purest, simplest model for online journalism: you, us, and a meter. Period. No corporate ownership, no advertising demands, no pressure for pageviews … just a concept designed to make your reading experience as good as possible, and to lead us not into temptation.
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.
This cut is from Sullivan talking quite candidly about his new pricing model and how he’s trying to independently fund The Dish when he leaves The Daily Beast. At first glance, I thought this was folly. Right in the same camp as Piers Morgan who snarked about Sullivan’s move on Twitter.
But, the more I thought about it, the more I wondered. For a set price point of $19.99 a year, is access to The Dish worth five cents a day? Yeah, it is. And I’ll be presubscribing as soon as I finish writing this post.
Look, the New York Times is doing it, the Wall Street Journal has a long-established paywall. Hell, even my useless local fishwrapper is doing it — stupidly — because, folks, the wild west that has been the Web is evolving. There is no free lunch. Never has been. Pony up.
I hope Sullivan is successful because he’s got an important and unique voice that needs to be heard. Also, I hope he can prove the pompous windbags wrong.
(Besides, as a gay Beagle lover, I’d like to see a fellow traveler one-up them all just for the bloody hell of it!)