Micropayments gain momentum in Europe
The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post are among the publications putting their weight behind Blendle, a Dutch platform that offers individual articles in exchange for micropayments.
All three media brands have signed up to make their content available on Blendle, and the New York Times Company and German publisher Axel Springer took a combined 23 per cent stake in Blendle a year ago.
Blendle launched last year in the Netherlands, where the service already has 500,000 subscribers, two-thirds of whom are 35 or under. The platform has just expanded into Germany, where the major news publications in the country — 18 dailies and 15 weeklies — are on board. A US launch date hasn’t been disclosed.
Users have to register their credit cards only once, and spend an average of 20 cents on each article they read, with 70 per cent of revenues going to the publisher. If you close a story within ten seconds, you get an automatic refund, or if you just don’t like an article, you can get a refund as long as you leave feedback.
About 10 per cent of articles are refunded, usually when readers are faced with clickbait-style stories or regular news; the figure falls to between 3 per cent and 4 per cent for more serious interviews and analysis.
Blendle, which can be accessed either via the web or through an app, is the brainchild of two Dutch former journalists in their late 20s, Alexander Klöpping and Marten Blankesteijn.
“We want Blendle to be a platform for journalism, likeSpotify is for music, or Netflix for film,” Mr. Klöpping said. “Users want it and publishers want it; it’s just a matter of good execution. I have a big heart for good journalism — the problem isn’t the content, it’s the distribution. A lot of problems can be solved with technology.”
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