walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

How Will We Pay for News Online?

Yeah, yeah, I know: Shirky says it will be advertising, a labor of love, or subscription based. And I know that micropayments have a terrible history.


Blendle started in the Netherlands. A very young man rounded up most of the publishers in the country and got them all to participate in an iTunes like setup. You sign up for free and get some tokens. You can read articles in exchange for tokens. (Oh, _that's_ why I can't read as much on NRC anymore.) When you run out of tokens you can buy more. They've consistently grown signups and signups have converted to buying tokens when the first batch run out at roughly 20%, suggesting the model is viable. NYT, WSJ and WaPo have all invested ? or otherwise helped the company out, and they are currently rolling out in Germany.

Bezos has other ideas, tho, in case this Blendle thing doesn't work.


Next kindle fire will be much larger and have an app with free access to a curated version of the WaPo -- people on other devices will be able to subscribe to the same service.

I'm sure we'll be seeing more possibilities, and I don't think it will be One Service to Rule Them All. After all, Netflix, Amazon and iTunes are splitting the video market, currently, with a number of other participants. Similarly (altho with more skew), the book and music markets are distributed among numerous players.

With all the doom and gloom about the ad-supported web being killed by a combination of bots and adblockers, it's nice to see there are people working on a possible way forward.
Tags: our future economy today
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