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The poster child for micropayments for news is getting out of the micropayments business

Blendle has been selling news by the article for nearly a decade, but “very limited” demand and the rise of digital subscriptions have done the idea in.


I saw the news about Blendle pulling its micropayments service late last week and swore not to comment on it because nothing provokes more opinions in my inbox than micropayment stories. However I’ve seen so many declarations that this means micropayments are dead that I might as well throw in my two pennies worth here.

Blendle had tried both micropayments and an all-you-can-read subscription service to articles from a range of publishers. Of its 1 million+ registered users in the Netherlands, only 150,000 had ever actually made a micropayment. But does its failure really mean micropayments won’t work in another form? Of course not.

Reducing friction is key to making small payments work, and having to convince people to download an app is a big leap. My opinion on this hasn’t changed much since this piece I wrote for WNIP a few years back: micropayments will only work once the tech is seamless (probably Google/browser-led), and in the meantime publishers should look at day passes or similar to ‘court’ readers into a longer-term paying relationship.

P.S. Musk’s promised per-article payment system is now officially 2.5 months late


Change, lots of it: Enders Analysis on saving local news

The greatest strength of the local news industry is its direct audience relationship and the trust that flows from its original journalism.

For the news media industry, the rise of AI is a double-edged sword. While some publishers are using it to churn out news stories regardless of how their audiences receive them, local news titles are considering how it can provide them with a major point of differentiation. Here, Chris pulls out the key findings from a recent Enders Analysis report into the state of local media in the UK.


BuzzFeed burning through cash, misses estimates in Q2

The struggling media company that shuttered its newsroom in April, reports a net loss Tuesday for the second quarter of $27.8 million

It’s hard to see how BuzzFeed is going to turn this around sustainably. The potential of AI to replicate their buzzy social content will undoubtedly help with reducing their costs, but that’s no way to build a respected brand long-term. “We figured out how to make some good cakes,” Jonah Peretti said, “but we still have to build out the bakery that can scale this and make more content experiences like this, widely distributed across our network.” You need skilled staff to keep making good cakes though, mate.


Gardeners’ World generates £1.4m retail sales on single issue

Immediate Media credits investment in marketing, including social media influencers, with success.

BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine has celebrated its highest revenue edition in 15 years. The May edition, which included a pass offering two-for-one entry into 416 gardens around the UK, sold 164,576 copies on the newsstand and generated £1.4million in retail sales value (£8.50 per issue). Key to this success was a multimedia sales and marketing campaign, even involving social influencers for the first time alongside national TV and print coverage.

More from Media Voices


Throwback episode – PPA Festival Special: How publishers are future-proofing audience relationships

At the PPA Festival, we spent the day finding out how publishers are future-proofing audience relationships. Immediate’s Ed Garcia features, discussing Gardeners’ World’s new premium offering.


Nine things we learned making an indie print magazine

The Grub Street Journal is a magazine for people who make magazines. Here are nine things the team learned making the print-first magazine.


Big Noises Season – Media Voices

Catch up on our last season of podcasts as we spoke to publishing people with something to say, on everything from hiring weirdos to publisher valuations and clickbait.

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