Andrew Sullivan tweaks paywall model after initial subscriber surge slows

The Dish

After raising a few hundred thousand dollars immediately and about $611,000 after a few weeks, subscriber growth is slowing for Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish blog.

Sullivan wrote Monday that income is now at $653,000 out of the $900,000 he needs to break even. If you do the math, that’s about $42,000 in new revenue over the past 30 days. “That’s 72 percent of our goal in almost three months,” he said, “but almost all the likeliest subscribers have joined already. It gets tougher from here on out.”

A Daily Dish chart of subscription sales shows the decline after a strong launch.

As a result, Sullivan has tightened the meter from seven free reads a month to five over two months, and on Monday announced a new monthly subscription option for $1.99. (Annual is $19.99.)

The Dish is a closely watched experiment in whether an individual or small group can thrive on direct reader funding of their writing. The $900,000 goal would pay for salaries and overhead, Sullivan says. Even more is needed to finance new ventures into longform journalism.
The combination of easier subscriptions, less free reading and more persistent nagging should create a funnel toward subscriber growth. Or at least, that’s the plan so far.

Related: Pricing experiments you can learn from (Conversion XL, via @castig)

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  • realmatch

    I’ll be interested to see if the paywall model works for Daily Dish! We recently actually published a post about the success of the NYT paywall and whether or not it may scale for smaller publishers. If you’d like, you can check out the article here: http://bit.ly/14t1s1U