Some of the biggest publishers in the US — including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Financial Times and the Washington Post— have signed up to a new service that will allow them to charge readers on a per-article basis.
In total, 20 publishers most of which already operate some form of paywall, have signed up as US launch partners with Blendle, the Dutch app that allows people to make micro-payments for individual articles, the New York Times reports
Blendle already has more than 650,000 users across Germany and The Netherlands, where most of the major local publishers have partnered with the service. Blendle US will initially open up to a test group of 10,000 users, says the NYT.
Users register and enter their credit card details with Blendle just once. The service creates a type of digital newsstand that serves a feed of stories about the topics users are interested in, trending stories, and articles curated by their friends, celebrities and public figures, or Blendle's own human editors.
When users click on a headline, the publisher takes a small payment — ranging from around $0.09 to $0.49 — with revenue split roughly 30/70 between Blendle and the publisher.
"If readers don't like an article, they can get an instant refund if they provide feedback on what wasn't to their liking," says the Times, The app also serves up full digital editions of newspapers and magazines.
Blendle's investors include The New York Times and Axel Springer, Business Insider's parent company. The company was founded by two 29-year-old former journalists — Marten Blankesteijn and Alexander Klöpping.
Klopping explained why they were starting small, with 10,000 users to begin with.
“Something like Blendle, asking micropayments for journalism, hasn't been done before on this scale and with our broad support from media companies. So we want to do it well and listen very carefully to the feedback of our users first. That feedback from the early community is very important to us."
The Economist, Time and Newsweek have also signed up