Andrew Sullivan, one of The Daily Beast’s biggest names, is leaving. Sullivan explained today that he and his blogging team are leaving the company and setting up their own (Dish Publishing LLC) and will ask readers to pay to view the content.
From now until February 1, The Dish will remain under The Daily Beast’s umbrella. After that it will shift to andrewsullivan.com and the posts will be subscriber only. The rate will be $19.99 per year, although Sullivan notes that people can pay more if they want. The new site will also be completely dependent on reader support, which is a pretty daring thing to do.
“Here’s the core principle: we want to create a place where readers — and readers alone — sustain the site,” wrote Sullivan. “No bigger media companies will be subsidizing us; no venture capital will be sought to cushion our transition (unless my savings count as venture capital); and, most critically, no advertising will be getting in the way.”
“If this model works,” continued Sullivan, “We’ll have proof of principle that a small group of writers and editors can be paid directly by readers, and that an independent site, if tended to diligently, can grow an audience large enough to sustain it indefinitely.”
That’s a gigantic “if.”
Update (1:55 pm):
The new site will be a “metered” system, like the New York Times. Readers will be able to view a certain amount of articles per month for free, and then be asked to pay. The system will be triggered by those readers clicking on “the jump.” Inbound links to his site won’t count toward the total.