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No Reader Left Behind: What’s Wrong With a $1,000 Subscription?

It’s nice when a news blog grows up. If you don’t live in New York, or care about its politics, you’ve probably never heard of Capital New York, which was recently bought by Politico. And there’s plans to juice it up, in the style of Politico Pro, by charging an estimated $1,000 yearly subscription. Talk about a paywall.

This is good, because the quality of journalism over at Capital is first rate. It’s already a “must read” for political junkies here. And Politico is on point about using the ‘freemium’ model to make their brand of news a money tree.

But when you make something so exclusive that only Michael Bloomberg can really afford it, how does that fit into the mission of a news blog like Capital, whose mission is, according to their site (emphasis mine):

Capital is an online news publication about how things work in New York, founded in 2010. We report on important local people and institutions, with the aim of sustaining a conversation with a knowing audience about things they don’t already know.

There’s something to be said for running a publication and making it this valuable. But I’m still an idealist. What happens when the cheap content for the poor, but knowing audiences, starts to stink because it’s not profitable? The New York Times costs almost $200 a year, and even they’re launching cheaper products. I’m glad there’s options in terms of business models. I’m just scared about this one.  

 

Image via AMC

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