Andrew Sullivan Moving to Subscription-Only Model

Prominent blogger will ask readers to pay $20 a year

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 2, 2013 4:52 PM CST

(Newser) – One of the biggest names in blogging is going to test a new way of doing business. Starting Feb. 1, Andrew Sullivan's "The Dish" blog will leave the Daily Beast, become independent and ad-free, and ask readers to pay $19.99 a year. Sullivan, who previously partnered with the Atlantic, explains the rationale of relying solely on subscription revenue here. One key point:

  • "Here's the core principle: we want to create a place where readers— and readers alone—sustain the site. No bigger media companies will be subsidizing us; no venture capital will be sought to cushion our transition (unless my savings count as venture capital); and, most critically, no advertising will be getting in the way."

So can a paywall for a blog work? Some typical reaction:

  • "It’s definitely a move to watch," writes Jeff Sonderman at Poynter. "Sullivan is one of the pioneers of blogging; he has shaped the form and built an engaged community of readers." Still, "no one knows how this will go."
  • "If anyone can pull it off, it might be Sullivan," writes Matt K. Lewis at the Daily Caller.
  • "When Sullivan first started blogging independently a decade ago, he raised money via NPR-like pledge drives, writes Walter Hickey at Business Insider. "So in addition to being a brilliant blogger, he's also always been into experimenting with creative business models."

Andrew Sullivan, left, and Aaron Tone arrive at the White House for a State Dinner in this file photo from March 14, 2012.
Andrew Sullivan, left, and Aaron Tone arrive at the White House for a State Dinner in this file photo from March 14, 2012.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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