4 Comments

Summary:

Since politics blog The Dish went independent six months ago, it’s raised $715,000 and has about 28,000 paid subscribers. That’s close to its goal of $900,000 for the first year, but most of the subscriptions came very early on.

paidContent Live 2013 Andrew Sullivan The Dish
photo: Albert Chau

It’s been six months since politics blogger Andrew Sullivan decided to take his popular blog, The Dish, independent, and on Monday he posted a half-year status update: The blog now has 27,349 paid subscribers who have contributed $715,000 in revenue. That takes The Dish 80 percent of the way to its goal of $900,000 in revenue for the first year.

It’s admirable progress, but as Sullivan acknowledges, most of that revenue came within the first few days of the announcement that The Dish was breaking free from the Daily Beast:

dish revenue 6 months

As for the number of readers who are hitting the paywall, Sullivan noted that “the number of readers who have used up their five read-ons now stands at 28,000.” 2.5 percent of readers who hit the paywall convert, and Sullivan says that’s better than the industry average of 2 percent.

“From March onward, everyone is on auto-renewal, which gives us much more stability. But we won’t really know how sustainable we are until we see if we can get all our most devoted Dishheads to give the same amount next February when their subs come due,” Sullivan writes. “I’m pretty confident we can – but enough of a worry-wart not to declare success until then. Nonetheless, the good news is that when you look at the revenue after that first money-bomb, it has stabilized since April and shows little sign of declining.”

Here’s a video of Sullivan speaking about subscription strategies and new blogging models at paidContent Live:

  1. Lawrence Grodecki Monday, July 1, 2013

    Finding this video came at just the right time, an excellent discussion on a great topic.

    Thanks Laura.

  2. David Thomas Tuesday, July 2, 2013

    All along I’ve applied healthy skepticism of Mr. Sullivan’s relative success with The Dish, subscriber version. I applaud The Dish’s transparency with the subscription rates, which is so much more enlightening than the typical hyperbole in digital publishing. What can’t be ignored is how much work Mr. Sullivan invested before launching Dish — particularly the years as a TV talking head & guest commentator — and his stats reveal how hard it really is to monetize that persona directly with the public. Second, if any given consumer typically has a loosely defined yet limited subscription budget, how will the Dish fare with competition — beyond the free competition of the present?

  3. Greg Golebiewski (@znakit) Tuesday, July 2, 2013

    Should he open up a little and differentiate the access model by adding one-time payments at a fraction of the subscription cost, he could reach far into the 97.5% of the possible readers the current paywll rejects.

    It seems that for someone who claims that the goal is the readership, not money, such open model would fit better.

  4. One part of this piece is confusing me and I’m hoping the author or other readers can clear it up.

    Two facts from the piece:

    1. 27,349 subscribed.

    2. Sullivan noted that “the number of readers who have used up their five read-ons now stands at 28,000.”

    Are those two numbers really so close, was something lost in translation? It would mean that 100% of the people who used up their five read-ons subscribed.

    3. 2.5 percent of readers who hit the paywall convert, and Sullivan says that’s better than the industry average of 2 percent.

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