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Summary:

Andrew Sullivan announced yesterday that he is taking his popular politics blog The Dish independent and charging $19.99 a year under a metered model. Since then, the blog has raised $333,000 from about 12,000 readers.

The Dish Andrew Sullivan

On Thursday, Andrew Sullivan pronounced himself “somewhat gob-smacked” by readers’ response to his immensely popular blog the Dish leaving the Daily Beast, going independent and charging $19.99 a year. The new Dish has raised $333,000 in the 24 hours following Sullivan’s announcement, from “nearly 12,000″ readers.

Contributors paid an average of “nearly $8″ more than the $19.99 minimum. 2,050 people shelled out $25; 1,870 rounded up to an even $20; and one avid Dishhead paid $1,000. Sullivan provides a chart of “the 10 prices that have brought in the most revenue”:

daily dish payments

Another chart in the post chart shows that the bulk of the subscriptions — 9,588 of them — were purchased yesterday, the day of the announcement, with a steep dropoff to 1,523 people contributing today. That could be a worrying sign, but also likely reflects the fact that the news of the Dish’s independence spread rapidly around the internet yesterday, with a lot of influential people tweeting their allegiance and signing up. It’s probably not surprising that the number of subscribers dropped off today, but what The Dish will want to see over the coming weeks is at least a trickle of new subscribers every day, with a jump once the Dish moves to its new home at andrewsullivan.com and turns on the meter.

Sullivan notes that “if our goal was an annual income of somewhere around $900K (we erred on the safe side), we have gotten a third of the way there in 24 hours.” He writes:

Total number of paid subscribers? Almost 12,000 right now. That’s still only 1 percent of our total monthly readership — so we have plenty of room to talk more of you into subscribing before the meter hits. And the current number is misleading because of that. We really won’t know how effective this is going to be until we actually have the meter in place. That’s the only true measurement of how many readers will eventually pay to read the Dish.

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  1. You could have explained the meter model mentioned in the article.

    1. Laura Hazard Owen Madlyb Thursday, January 3, 2013

      Thanks for the comment — check out our piece from yesterday (also linked in the first line of this article) about how the actual meter works: http://paidcontent.org/2013/01/02/andrew-sullivan-breaks-from-the-daily-beast-new-dish-to-charge-20year/

  2. excellent & great way to monetize content but of-course got to have that quality content.

  3. Caveat emptor. Sullivan started out with a similar model of asking for donations for premium content, but his Daily Dish newsletters were were few and far between. I paid him $25 by way of a donation to get ‘inside’ or premium content. they were neither. I could read everything he wrote for his premium group somewhere else for free. They eventually stopped altogether without notice or even an explanation that he was moving on. His political views have moved on. Let’s hope his business and customer service skills have as well.

  4. I think Andrew Sullivan over estimates his audience. He may regret this move. I have followed Andrew since the 80s when I was so impressed with him that I cut out a photo of him and pasted it on my fridge. Then he was cute, skinny, young, smarter than most and was reasoned. Now I can’t get past his ridiculous, self indulgent, captain-of-the-titanic beard, his rages when anyone disagrees with him and he has less and less to say that I can agree with. He seems more consumed with being right than reasoned. Notice that he gets less and less guest invitations. Sorry, I think he is no longer relevant.

  5. Good for him, I like it and appreciate it. There are several groups whose good work I have followed for decades. This model by Sullivan may be of great help to them.
    There are a few organizations in America who refuse to be a registered non-profit; a 501C3. They do not because they understand that it is really we the people, our tax dollars who end up really supporting them. The obvious “flip-side” is that donors are able to write their sum off of their taxes, again reducing the taxable income.
    One of several, whose decades of hard work I have been thinking of since the horrible tragedy of Newtown, CT., is Focus Adolescent Services, http://www.Focusas.com / Their mission is to work with both parents and professionals dealing with “troubled” adolescents. I think that there is really no way of ever knowing how many lives they have saved with their massive and informative web site, their state by state directories of other helping organizations and especially their free national help line. They have always posted on their web site how they are able to maintain their quality counselors, paid their phone, light, and office bills, etc. It is done through discerning advertising and gifts from people like you and me. In this economy, like all others, they are seeing a great reduction, so I am told, in the modest revenue they need to keep working. Sullivan’s idea might be the answer. The downside is that it would exclude the many who can’t pay that initial fee..hum…However, if the millions who visit their web site gave just a dollar that is about the cost of a cup of coffee right? Look into this folks, their work is good work and obviously we need them and others too. We swore, as a nation, in 1999 following Columbine that it would never happen again………….tears for little innocent happy carefree children by the act of one evil animal. What do you all think?

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