Publishers groaning under the heavy burden of watching their revenue dwindling due to ad blockers can heave a sigh of relief. Blend is a Dutch startup, which aggregates news from different media houses online via a paywall before allowing users to pay a small amount per every article they read.
Blendle adopts a system where users only pay for articles they wish to read—and also gives them the opportunity to get a refund when they are not satisfied with what they have paid for. This sort of system is known as Micropayments—it gives readers access to read any article of their choice—but with a pay-per-article option. Unlike a monthly subscription, the micropayment method enables you to pay as low as 25 cents per article.
Hundreds of media companies are already warming up to make their content available to the new apps. Some of the digital media houses already lining up to join Blendle’s new app include; The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and Financial Times. Reports claim that Germany’s Axel Springer and the New York Times are part of the companies that have invested in the startup.
Blendle has clocked 650,000 users since it came into existence two years ago—with no precise information on how much it has earned in terms of revenue since then. However, the company says it has earned about $100,000 since 2015—and sees its decision to extend its services to the US as a drive towards building its profit level.
Succor for publishers?
This should come as a sort of relief for publishers and bloggers who have been having running battles with ad blockers. Though, only a small percentage of readers are willing to pay for reading an article online—it does offer an attractive alternative to ad blockers. It also raises a couple of questions including the quality of content available to the reader. Even that seems to have been taken care of with Blendle tempting readers with the money-back option for uninteresting article.
Blendle answers a couple of questions being asked about how digital media plan to sustain their line of business. “Income from advertising is declining, the competition of Facebook and Google is very strong, a Blendle’s publication on medium.com explains. “41% of the younger people are already using ad-blocking plugins, more and more kids are browsing in incognito mode (leaving no cookies at all), and native advertising makes readers and journalists alike very uncomfortable.”
Only a few voices have greeted Blendle with smiles of better things to come—with pessimism flowing through the veins of some digital media houses who think it won’t work. It is a big question not many of us can answer right away—but the fact that people are now willing to pay for music online contrary to what we had decades before gives a glimmer hope.
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