The Dish-y path to reader-supported publishing

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

HowlerHave I written about Andrew Sullivan’s attempt to make his long-running blog The Dish a sustainable media enterprise? Ah, only in passing. Time to correct that.

The Dish has been on my reading list for as long as I can remember. Sullivan’s work was a huge influence on me in my early days as a blogger (over a decade ago…). But what makes his current campaign to make The Dish pay its own way is that he’s not starting where most bloggers do – with just themselves to support. No, he’s got a team of writers and interns, and he’s aiming to do it without ads or venture capital backing. It’s going well:

With your help, and with six weeks to go, we’re now at $807K in our first year revenue, closing in on our goal of $900K. Tinypass made that possible; you made it happen. If you are a regular reader of the Dish, all we ask is that you consider if what we provide each day is worth $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year. If it is, please subscribe.

I’ve been a subscriber for over 10 months, and I’m really hoping he hits his target. As he says himself:

As you can see, this model is not just about us. It’s about building a future for a whole range of new media on the ashes of the old.

That’s really the key point here – is there scope for small online businesses built around blogging sustained by the readers? If the answer is “yes”, then we have a very interesting future ahead of us…

Andrew Sullivanbusiness modelsmonetisationpaywallsthe dish

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.