To Blendle or not to blend?

The last few weeks were marked by the launch of Blendle – an initiative of Marten Blankesteijn and Alexander Klöpping – the “iTunes for journalism” that makes it possible to purchase articles from newspapers and magazines (for which the authors don’t get paid directly). The Economist wrote about it:

If you want to prototype the iTunes of journalism, the Netherlands isn’t a bad place to start. The country has the highest rate of internet penetration in Europe and, even after more than a decade of internet-driven attrition, the Dutch journalistic landscape is still a crowded one. [..] Government media subsidies are gradually being cut back, but Blendle won a €200,000 grant from a government fund for new journalism ventures, matching the initial €200,000 put in by its founders and financial backers.

The reactions on the initiative are positive. But it could still take a while before Blankesteijn and Klöpping’s investments recoup, remarked innovation expert and NewTeam/partner Danny Mekic’ in the article:

You can’t tell anything from the usage statistics so far. Blendle users receive €2.50 worth of free credit at signup, and it could be weeks before most begin to spend substantial amounts of their own money. With Blendle taking 30% of the fees charged and the rest going to the publishers, the site will have to sell millions of articles just to recoup its initial investment. Still, its first week was promising, with 40,000 users signing up in just a few days.

At NewTeam we hope that the founders of Blendle will succeed in building a decent platform on which readers and authors can be linked directly, not only through existing publishers. And we can soon write about the introduction of the “Spotify and Netflix model for articles” quickly: unlimited reading for a monthly fee.

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