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Andrew Sullivan seeks alternative business model to ‘page-view trolling’ as Dish website launches monthly magazine

By Dominic Ponsford

US-based British journalist Andrew Sullivan has launched a monthly online magazine off the back of his website The Dish.

Sullivan left the Huffington Post in January to relaunch The Dish as a paid-for website with seven staffers. The metered paywall invites readers to take out a $19.99 subscription when they have accessed seven articles in one month.

So far the site has attraced 32,000 subscribers but has yet to reach its target of raising $900,000.

The new monthly magazine is only available to subscribers and is a bid to “reinvent the idea of a magazine through a blog”, Sullivan says.

The first issue includes two long-form articles, an e-Book collection of Sullivan’s Iraq war blogs from 2001-2008 and and an account of a 100-minute conversation between former Iraq war commander Mikey Puro and Sullivan.

Sullivan writes: “We intend to follow up each month with long-form journalism that is close to the polar opposite of our daily blogging, yet fueled by its thriving community of readers….

“In other words, we want to begin creating the kind of content we often link to.”

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Sullivan said he hopes that the Dish could help spawn “a new business model for long-form magazine journalism”.

The metered paywall model used by The Dish has also been used to great effect by the New York Times and the Financial Times. In April, The Telegraph began asking readers to subscribe if they wanted to view more than 20 articles per month. While that has had a minimal impact on traffic, there have been no reports yet from the Telegraph on subscriber take-up.

Sullivan said: "As long-form struggles to survive, and as ‘sponsored content’ or page-view trolling gain more and more traction in the media, we want to pull in the very opposite direction – toward more reader-writer interaction and support, toward subscription-based journalism that can focus on the quality of content, rather than on the need to placate corporate advertisers with unprecedented leverage over struggling news sites or to rack up page views.”

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