Award winning author and ex-journalist for Dutch language newspapers and magazines.
Tech journalist for Holland's biggest TV talkshow, made a documentary film about Silicon Valley.
Blendle is a The New York Times Company and Axel Springer-backed journalism startup from the Netherlands that offers all articles of all newspapers and all important magazines in The Netherlands in one web app, with one paywall, where users will only have to pay for the articles they read. At Blendle, we think that unbundling of journalism is the Holy Grail in getting young people to pay for journalism again.
Not so long ago, people didn’t think individuals were ever going to pay for music again. Pirating was so widespread that a lot of people thought: What service could possibly beat free downloading?
For the first time in their lives, our friends are paying for music. And it doesn’t stop there. They also spend quite a lot of money on apps, even paying for movies and TV-shows with Netflix. However, none of them pay regularly for journalism — they never have. And a lot of publishers think they never will.
If anything, the music business has taught us that consumers want a simple way to pay for content. As a consumer, you only want to pay for content you actually consume, you want algorithms and social networks to help you filter, and you want everything in one place. While consumers changed, newspapers and magazines didn’t really adapt.
To this day you still need to register at every newspaper or magazine you want to read while paying monthly fees for every site or for a bundle of articles with all kinds of stuff you don’t read. The editors still make a non-personalized selection for you, and every newspaper has its own website.
What happens when all major publishers in a country join forces, bringing all articles written in a single country together and ensuring they are readily available in a single app, and all payable from a single wallet? That’s Blendle.
In Blendle, users can see what articles their friends or interesting curators (celebrities, journalists, politicians, radio DJ’s) have shared from the paid sections of today’s newspapers and magazines, and which articles are trending on the platform. The app also enables anyone to share articles from Holland’s best journalists on Facebook and Twitter. No more signing up with different paywalls for every newspaper. Users pay with a single click, and only for the articles they read. New users get €2.50 for free, and can then top up their Blendle wallet.
Until now, it was not possible for Dutch consumers to search for premium content from newspapers and magazines. Blendle is the first paid search engine for newspapers and magazines in the country. If a user wants to follow everything about specific subjects — say, the situation in Syria, or bitcoins, or their favorite author — they can set email alerts for those words.
Users always pay a price per article (set by the publisher), but are also able to refund their money if they don’t deem the article worthy after reading it (a fair use policy applies). It’s a pretty cool function that greatly increases the amount of money spent on journalism. The publisher gets to keep 70% of what we make. We keep 30%.
Publishers love subscribers. That's why they put up paywalls. But a lot of people don't like subscriptions for all kinds of reasons. Many people buy full issues of a newspaper or magazine in a digital newsstand. But there is also a big group of people that doesn't like full issues, but does like to pay for articles every now and then. Blendle is for them. They're a new group that you can monetize with intelligent technology.
The data from Holland shows that Blendle causes absolutely no loss of subscriptions. Instead the opposite happens: some Blendle users start buying newspapers or even subscriptions.