Dan Gilmor: Andrew Sullivan Relaunches ‘Daily Dish’ Under Subscription Model

Dan Gilmor: Andrew Sullivan Relaunches ‘Daily Dish’ Under Subscription Model

The popular blogger's has made the decision to quit the Daily Beast and make the Dish part free, part subscriber-paid.

Dan Gilmor, The Guardian
  • 3 january 2013

Powered by
This article titled “Andrew Sullivan plans to serve Daily Dish by subscription” was written by Dan Gillmor, for on Thursday 3rd January 2013 12.30 UTC

Andrew Sullivan, one of the earliest political bloggers and always one of the best, says he’s betting on his readers in moving his prominent Daily Dish blog to a “freemium” system (much free, some paid). Actually, he’s betting on himself.

To be still more accurate, he’s betting on himself and two colleagues – Patrick Appel and Chris Bodenner, who are departing the Daily Beast, the blog’s current home – to do more than create a sustainable business for themselves. If they can pull it off, they’ll help demonstrate that the broader journalistic ecosystem is evolving in sustainable ways.

Sullivan’s announcement Wednesday was a semi-shocker. Though he’d started out more than a decade ago as a solo blogger, he’d gone on to a series of partnerships with major media organizations, including Time, the Atlantic and, most recently, the Daily Beast (which acquired Newsweek and then, at the end of 2012, shuttered it). Sullivan explained that now was the time to return to independence.

The payment system is a lot like the one at the New York Times, which is really more of a suggestion wall. As Sullivan explained:

“Our particular version will be a meter that will be counted every time you hit a ‘Read on’ button to expand or contract a lengthy post. You’ll have a limited number of free read-ons a month, before we hit you up for $19.99. Everything else on the Dish will remain free. No link from another blog to us will ever be counted for the meter – so no blogger or writer need ever worry that a link to us will push their readers into a paywall. It won’t. Ever. There is no paywall. Just a freemium-based meter. We’ve tried to maximize what’s freely available, while monetizing those parts of the Dish where true Dishheads reside. The only tough love we’re offering is the answer to the View From Your Window Contest. You’ll have to become a member to find where the place is. Ha!”

The Times model, in turn, has a lot in common with National Public Radio, which thrives on two main revenue sources: big donations from corporate or philanthropic funders, and small donations from listeners. The Times, a for-profit operation, gets money from advertisers instead of large donors, but its paywall – which is: read this many stories free, then buy a subscription – is deliberately porous and simple to circumvent.

In a key decision, the new Dish says it won’t accept ads. The downside is obvious, namely leaving essential-to-survive money on the table. The potential rewards are real, however: a deeper bond with an audience that is already among the most devoted around – in part because readers have a sense that Sullivan is willing to go where the facts, as opposed to the dollars, lead him.

I would assume that Sullivan and his colleagues are looking, meanwhile, at other revenue sources. In this new ecosystem, we all have to look at and try just about everything on the business side of our journalism world, not just the content side.

Indeed, the new Dish’s business experiment includes a partner called Tinypass, a software startup that’s creating a payment platform for independent content creators. It promises both to make it easy, and not annoying, for audiences to offer their financial support, and to take a smaller cut of the proceeds than the competition. While I like the idea of Tinypass, I have no idea if it can get traction, much less scale up to support many, larger media businesses. Again, though, it’s part of an emergent media ecosystem that is growing more diverse and interesting by the day.

Sullivan is far from the first to move to a paid model, of course. Other bloggers have moved toward payments in a variety of ways, using a variety of platforms and methods. There are promising signs that it can work.

A key question is just how many individual sites people will pay for. Sullivan’s $20 a year rate is cheap for one, but non-trivial once you start subscribing to lots of people. One thing I’d bet on is alliances among bloggers where we can pay a lot less for a grab-bag of sites, on the theory that many more people will be willing to join that way, creating win-win-win situations. Again – and I can’t use this word enough – the more experimenting and innovation the better.

I’ve followed Sullivan’s blogging from the beginning, initially because he was a member of a then-small tribe of people (I counted myself among them) who were using the web to create what we considered an evolved media form. In particular, it was immediate and conversational, with the benefits and risks that such a thing entailed.

I’ve often disagreed with Sullivan’s politics, but I always respected his passion, astounding energy and willingness to engage. I’m subscribing today. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.


Retail Expert: What Sustainability Means To The Millennial Generation

Design Today

Milk Proteins Could Be The Packaging Material Of The Future

A newly discovered casein-based alternative is biodegradable, sustainable and even edible

Technology Today

Intel’s New System Will Help Technology See And Understand The World

Joule is a tiny board for developers designed to bring powerful computer vision to cheap and easy-to-make prototypes


Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Work

See All
Design Today

This LA Hotel Is Designed Specifically For Cocktail Drinkers

The Walker Inn is a new Los Angeles "Bed and Beverage" experience that offers guests an intimate setting for their night cap

Education Today

Bringing Virtual Reality And Telepresence Robotics To E-Learning

This Learning Management System is embracing new technologies to reallocate teaching resources to where they should be going


Kevin Slavin

Game Design and Technology

Advertising Today

Interactive Art Exhibition For Dogs Provides Endless Fun

Installations created by artist Dominic Wilcox are based on activities loved by canines, such as fetching tennis balls and splashing in water

Beauty Today

Design Your Own Custom Watch Faces

Customize your wrist device with Garmin's new app that lets you display personalized images or patterns

Syndicated Today

How The Olympics Taught Us Lessons In Cloud Analytics

Dan Vesset, group VP for analytics and information management at IDC, tells how cloud-based business analytics support decision-making


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Why Building Better Offices Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Interaction Designer and Audio-visual Technologist at ESI Design illustrates the value in creating environments filled with surprise and delight

PSFK Labs Today

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: How The Nurturing Of Seeds Will Come To Define The Onboarding Process

Our Future of Work vision is a service that allows companies to assemble and deliver welcome packets that are uniquely focused on the concept of growth

Arts & Culture Today

Artist Shuts Down Sexist Comments By Turning Them Into Images

Rora Blue explores social stigma in a photo series titled 'Handle With Care'

Arts & Culture Today

Japanese Face Wash Creates A Perfect Rose Every Time

Kanebo's latest addition to the Evita line includes an application that dispenses cleanser in the shape of a flower

Mobile Today

Twitter Bot Will Warn You If You Are A Troll

An online tool developed out of Intel's Hack Harassment movement helps filter out or notify cyber bullies

Retail Today

Passengers Can Now Earn Airline Miles For Sharing Their Location Data

The Frequent Flyer app measures background data and gives travelers points that can be exchanged for tickets with participating airlines

Advertising Today

The NBA Is Releasing Two Original Shows To Stream On Twitter

The sports league announced a deal that demonstrates an interesting expansion of its content strategy


Innovation Debrief: Boston
Business Concepts Born In 'The Hub'

Automotive Today

Cadillac Concept Shows A Future Design Direction

The flagship sedan reveals the brand is continuing to hone and refine its luxury aesthetic

Design Yesterday

Device Gives Home Renovators X-Ray Vision

Walabot gives homeowners with a knack for DIY construction projects the ability to see what's hiding behind their walls

Fashion Yesterday

Modular Bag Can Be Folded Into Many Shapes And Forms

The ModiBag is made using wooden components covered in leather, which can be bent into different formations

No search results found.