Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish sees new signups fall, but revenue holding steady at about $1M

6 Comments

Blogger Andrew Sullivan, who left The Daily Beast and turned his Daily Dish site into an independent, crowdfunded media entity in 2012, said in his latest update on the site’s progress that while new signups have declined over the last six months, the site’s overall revenue has grown and is now close to the $1-million level. The number of subscribers is holding roughly steady at about 30,000.

Traffic to the site has been up and down during the last few months, Sullivan said — getting as high as 900,000 unique visitors in July, but then falling as low as 690,000 in September. As he points out in the post, however, the Daily Dish is a lot less dependent on traffic than other sites:

The silver lining to these ups and downs in traffic is that they do not really have an impact on our finances – because, unlike almost everyone else in online journalism, we’re completely subscription based. That guides us away from the sirens of clickbait, and allows us to provide content that we think matters – even though we know it won’t rack up pageviews.

Sullivan said that the site seems to have reached a balance between new signups and old members who fail to renew their subscriptions, and that the renewal rate for existing users is around 83 percent — which is relatively high for a media site. When subscriber revenue of $964,000 is added to revenue from affiliate and merchandise sales, he said the total is “bumping up against $1 million.”

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From my point of view, while I’m sure Sullivan would prefer to see a huge influx of new subscriptions, the fact that he has been able to generate close to $1 million in revenue from his readers is still a fairly amazing achievement. It’s comparable to what the Dutch site De Correspondent has been able to do by signing up about 30,000 subscribers who now generate $1.7 million in annual revenue. Anyway you look at it, that’s nothing to sneeze at.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Thinkstock / Tash Tuvango

6 Comments

cas127

I wonder how the AS paywall works.

(A brief scan of the site didn’t provide any answers)

It can’t be too rigorous as I was able to pull up three or four items at random without any paywall appearing.

And the 900k uniques/month (vs. 30k paying subs) ratio suggests the same…the paywall is really more of a picket fence (see NYT).

Which does suggest AS (and the NYT nowadways, for that matter) *are* really more “crowdfunded” “club” newsletters (aspiring to broader societal influence) than is commonly understood.

Subs might be paid more out of ideological loyalty (and aspirations of broader influence) than out a dying thirst for the daily wit n’ wisdom of AS.

Hell the “subs” might bought in batches by political entities for all we know.

For all we know, the NYT may have *always* worked this way…at many junctions in the fast receding past…it seemed this way.

Thank you internet for making it all irrelevant.

Mathew Ingram

Good question. I guess it’s a semantic thing in some ways, but The Daily Dish and other similar sites literally wouldn’t be able to exist without raising money from their audience or fans, whereas the New York Times has been in business for years and used to provide access to its news for free and then put up a “pay wall.” The Dish is also a lot more engaged with its members than the NYT and other papers typically are with the people who pay for their news.

Alex

The NYT has ad revenue. The Dish does not. Thus the Dish is completely funded by humans paying for subscriptions: “crowdfunded.”

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