Andrew Sullivan is taking the Daily Dish independent, and he’s doing it with a “freemium” model that restricts the number of “read more” clicks that non-subscribers can view in a month. Other stuff will be free, and links from other blogs will always work even if the content is behind a paywall.
This is a variant of the subscription model other sites like the Times and Gannett papers are using, except that it sounds like a lot of the Dish content will always be free. In practice, those subscription models end up looking a lot like public radio or TV – it’s pretty easy to get the content for free even after you’ve reached a limit, so “subscribers” tend to be voluntary. Sully has a huge readership, so I assume that enough people will pony up $19.99 a year to pay for him and his two under bloggers, and his site will still get a lot of hits since you can still view a lot of the content without a subscription. He won’t be hosting ads on the site, which is an indicator of just how badly the Internet ad market is cratering.
Also, too: This might finally spell the end of McMegan, because I doubt Sully is going to put anyone else on the payroll in the near future, and once he’s left the Daily Beast, the amount of traffic on that site is going to shrivel. And Tina Brown’s reverse Midas touch is in full operation, once again.