A highly targeted audience can bring huge value for advertisers, and superstar journalist/blogger Andrew Sullivan knows it. That’s why he’s leaving the Daily Beast and launching his own subscription website — with memberships starting at $19.99 a month.
Actually, it’s a $19.99 or pay what you want model, a model that’s proving to be successful across a lot of channels. Sullivan and his team are going independent for a mixture of reasons, one of which must certainly be that they stand to make a lot more money with fewer strings attached.
We felt more and more that getting readers to pay a small amount for content was the only truly solid future for online journalism… 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.
Who ever said that users will never pay for content, Andrew Sullivan hopes you’re wrong. And so do I, actually… not for his sake but mine and DM’s.
Subscriber revenues do present their own set of difficulties — especially for those with a romantic view of journalism like Sullivan — but a subscriber model does certainly create a less volatile revenue stream.
I don’t think Sullivan will see a noticeable drop in readership or engagement in the move. If anything, he may get a temporary spike in traffic, with curious visitors poking around the new AndrewSullivan.com front-end site.
What’s starting to happen, first with Glenn Beck and now with Sullivan (nearly polar opposites), is that mass media personalities are building loyal audiences on their own, building relationships with marketing masterminds, and realizing that they’re employers are no longer necessary.
Sullivan has the traffic, all he needs is conversions. Hopefully, he’s working with some folks who know how to make that happen.