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March 18, 2019, 11:15 a.m.
Business Models
LINK:  ➚   |   Posted by: Christine Schmidt   |   March 18, 2019

A recently launched news outlet in Denmark is taking an approach Fox News might be intimidated by: an explicitly socialist membership scale.

According to [] chief editor Morten Hammeken, the goal is to create a media that is independent of party interests, but which has a clear socialist agenda:

“Our starting point is socialism and class struggle, and our opponent is the minority who sits on the vast majority of the values ​​in society and who also dominates the vast majority of the media,” says Morten Hammeken in a press release.

That’s Google Translate from another Danish site, so apologies if there are some misinterpretations. (Dag = day, maned = month — that chart outlines how much you should expect to pay based on your income.) Solidaritet explains “in Solidarity we mean that the widest shoulders carry the heaviest load. Therefore, our membership income is graduated.” notes that Solidaritet has received 1.33 million kroner (around US $200,000) from a government innovation fund.

Pay-what-you-can is not unfamiliar for other membership-oriented sites, like Dutch-born The/De Correspondent:

  1. We trust you to choose a fair price that’s appropriate to your financial situation.
  2. We feel journalism should be inclusive — it should be affordable for everybody.
  3. We believe in the power of solidarity: those who can afford a little more can help keep our journalism accessible to those on a tighter budget…. Those who can afford to pay more for membership enable others to pay less. In so doing, we help each other keep journalism accessible for everyone. That way it remains a public good without having to be free.

For-profit news organizations factor subscribers’ personal incomes into setting subscription rates, too, but they’re often not very transparent about it. The Dallas Morning News’ Jim Moroney explained the local papers’ approach:

The Columbus Dispatch raised the price to their best customers, the ones they believed could afford to pay for it, by 100 percent and lost about 8 percent of their volume overall. I think they did a better job than we did. But this is an opportunity for how do we pay for journalism. I’ve got to find more sustainable revenue sources. And the consumer, who loves the newspaper, who isn’t going to give it up until they are six feet under, they will pay more for the newspaper, because we’ve subsidized the price over time.

And last fall, Poynter’s Rick Edmonds deconstructed a Kansas City subscriber’s $846 newspaper bill from McClatchy:

It took some checking over a period of a month, but three sources confirmed to me that Black was on the receiving end of a peculiar new circulation strategy, which one called “reverse redlining.”

At the Star and 29 other McClatchy papers, longtime core subscribers, especially in higher income ZIP codes, are being hit with big renewal rate increases.

Some will cancel, the theory goes, but many will shrug and send in a check. So the practice works out to a net revenue gain for the company.

Yes, the Danish socialist outlet is choosing a new strategy by being as upfront as it is. But in the reader revenue rate race/looming subscription-pocalypse, many news organizations are trying to coax out as much money as they can.

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