The Dutch experiment with an iTunes model for journalism

by on March 9, 2014 at 2:05 am in Economics, Web/Tech | Permalink

The Netherlands’ biggest newspaper and magazine publishers have agreed to start selling individual articles for as little as €0.10 through a start-up called Blendle that aims to be the “iTunes of journalism”.

The Dutch initiative highlights how publishers are searching for new ways to make money from online content as their print businesses face declining readership and advertising revenues.

Blendle was founded in 2012 by Marten Blankesteijn and Alexander Klöpping, both aged 27.

It plans to launch in the Netherlands in April and has signed up the vast majority of publishers that produce newspapers and magazines in the country, including De Persgroep, Sanoma, Hearst and Reed Elsevier.

From the FT there is more here.

1 Education Realist March 9, 2014 at 3:32 am

The whole iTunes analogy sounds great, but it doesn’t really hold up. We replay music. We don’t reread most articles.

2 Brock March 9, 2014 at 4:12 am

You are right.Decline in the salaries of journalists is unstoppable.

3 Age Of Doubt March 9, 2014 at 9:10 am

Broadcast journalism has always been free to consumers and profitable to broadcasters, so the decline of print journalism alone can’t explain the drop in journalist salaries. An aggravating effect may be the deluge of journalism and communications majors being pushed through the university system, seen as a practical alternative, for the literary-inclined, to a useless English degree. In coming years, we may to see similar logjams of people clamoring for the few remaining fields that can’t be automated.

4 Z March 9, 2014 at 10:23 am

Broadcast journalism was never free. The costs were hidden. Today, the costs are socialized through the cable bill. If we went to a la carte pricing of cable, ESPN loses two thirds of its revenue as 80% of cable homes don’t watch ESPN, but pay for it. The news channels would go out of business in months. The exception may be Fox only because they have the worst fee deals of the bunch and have an audience. The rest play to empty rooms and airport patrons.

5 ummm March 9, 2014 at 11:04 am

it’s free except for the electricity and the radio. A hand crank radio is close to free broadcasting as you’re going to get

6 axa March 9, 2014 at 11:18 am

Assuming the country where you pay your taxes does not use them for public radio =)

7 Z March 9, 2014 at 10:19 am

The news business is slowly returning to normal. Up until the post-war period, newspapers were small and the reporters were lower middle-class. It was a good way for a literate member of the lower classes to avoid the mines. It was recent that the profession became the dumping ground for the dimwitted sons and daughters of the elite. The Columbia Journalism School was always an absurdity and a good example of what the top of a bubble looks like. The future will be small news sites aggregated by services like Google and Apple, maybe.

8 Rahul March 9, 2014 at 4:20 am

Indeed. But neither do we re-eat Burgers but we still buy them off the dollar menu.

There has to be a convenient delivery mechanism and some low price point (€0.10 just might be it) where people won’t mind buying piecemeal articles.

9 ummm March 9, 2014 at 5:49 am

not a new idea but interesting anyway

10 dead serious March 9, 2014 at 10:11 am

I have to pay to read an article about paying for articles.

11 rayward March 9, 2014 at 10:15 am

Of course, if it catches on it will be the end of the detached journalist; only advocacy journalism will survive as readers self-select the side of the story they prefer to read. As I commented on an interview of Matt Tabbi, the key to being a good journalist is detachment, the willingness, the eagerness, to report the opposing arguments of a story. In advocacy journalism, there is no room for detachment or opposing arguments.

12 Z March 9, 2014 at 10:25 am

That sounds great except there has never been “detached” journalism. Everyone at the NYTimes sincerely thinks they are objective and detached. Even today, they dismiss the claims they are advocates or biased. “Unbiased” is a member of the set of things that don’t exist.

13 Mitch Berkson March 9, 2014 at 10:30 am

And still Consumer Reports survives.

14 Z March 9, 2014 at 12:45 pm

A fine example of opinion journalism dressed up to be objective reporting.

15 Mitch Berkson March 9, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Although many of their political stances are disagreeable, are you saying this biases their ratings in some way?

16 Ray Lopez March 9, 2014 at 10:54 am

“selling individual articles for as little as €0.10” – sounds too expensive to me…one article for 13 cents?

17 Marie March 9, 2014 at 10:56 am

It’s funny how everyone goes to national journalism.

18 Akülü İstif Makineleri March 12, 2014 at 11:06 am

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19 nike air max 95 March 13, 2014 at 3:17 am

The Dalai clique takes for granted that with the backing of the only superpower in the world, there is hope for so-called “Tibet independence.” In fact, the U.S. has not met all of the Dalai Lama’s demands.

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