Wow… this is impressive:
“It’s been a pretty amazing day,” Sullivan told me. Six hours after he first made his announcement and put out his call for sign ups, he said. “We’re well into the six figures.” He described the system as a “leaky meter,” where readers can hit the “read on” button a limited number of times per month before they have to pay; it’s leaky in that readers can follow links from other sites without adding to the meter. A subscription costs at least $19.99 per year, but readers can pay as much as they want, and Sullivan estimated that about a third of the initial subscribers are paying more than the minimum.
As for ditching ads, Sullivan is spot-on:
As for why he’s taking such a dramatic stand against ads, Sullivan said that he’s watched the media industry over the past decade and found that the pursuit of ad revenue has led not just to blatant “whoring” for pageviews (for example “slideshows of topless celebrities”), but also exerted a more “subtly corrupting” influence by leading to the creation of special issues and the like, which he said are basically “gussied-up vehicles for advertising.”
Sullivan and Co. still have a ways to go before reaching the amount they need to run The Dish for even one year, but this is still encouraging… and proof plenty that people will pay for something if they perceive it to be valuable and worthwhile. Indeed, about a third of the subscribers have paid more than the minimum amount of $19.99/year.
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I've also written for Christ and Pop Culture, ScreenAnarchy, Filmwell, and Christian Research Journal. I pay the bills by creating beautiful user interfaces and websites for Firespring and Red Bicycle.