The Netherlands-based company Blendle said it will launch its micropayment platform for news in the US early next year. The idea behind Blendle is to create an iTunes for news: breaking up newspapers and other medium into individual articles that customers will pay for, bringing incremental dollars to publishers.
Axel Springer and The New York Times Co. have invested in Blendle, but right now the first newspaper to say it will be on board when Blendle launches in the US is The Washington Post. The NYT says it is still in talks with the company.
“We are glad to be one of the first American media organizations in Blendle’s international rollout,” Steve Hills, President and General Manager of The Post this summer when the paper announces its involvement with Blendle. “As The Post’s global audience continues to grow, this platform offers readers a new way to engage with our journalism.” (Hills later announced that he was leaving the Post at the end of this year to become the director of the Georgetown University Law Center Business Program.)
Blendle co-founder Alexander Klöpping points to ad blockers as a reason for charging readers for individual articles.
“The total number of adblockers now per website, it’s still manageable,” Klöpping told the Financial Times. “But if you look at young people, the number of adblockers they have installed, it’s really daunting.”
Doubters in micropayment for news often point out that while consumers have been used to paying for music before that advent of mp3s, web readers have grown up being able to access the news online for free. If they are not willing to pay for a digital subscription, then why would they pay for an individual article? On the other hand, if they are willing to pay for digital subscriptions, then why would they then also pay for an individual article? This is the dilemma facing the NYT: should they start selling through Blendle when they are also still selling their own subscription packages?
reposted with permission from Talking New Media
images by photosteve101, Blendle