Andrew Sullivan on the new Dish, leaky meters and staring into the soul of online media

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After blogging for thirteen years, the last six of which were for big media, in January Andrew Sullivan and a few close associates decided to launch an independent media company.
The decision to go independent wasn’t all that shocking since, after all, Sullivan had started his blog, The Daily Dish, as a personal endeavor while maintaining a day job at The New Republic. What was surprising was that they would ask readers to pay for content.
Utilizing what Sullivan called a “leaky meter” model, where frequent visitors to the new Dish would be asked to pay $20 a year or more if they hit a certain amount of reads per month, Sullivan was gambling that his most loyal readers liked what he and his partners were writing enough to put some actual skin in the game, paying not only for the next twelve months of articles, but hopefully for the next year and the year after that as they attempted to build a sustainable media business.
Two months and two thirds of the way towards his $900 thousand revenue goal, Sullivan was cautiously optimistic this week when I caught up with him. We talked about some of the lessons he’s learned, the decision process behind launching the company (and it’s business model), others which helped shape his thinking about new media business models, and what his biggest surprise has been so far.


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