Technologist: How does Blendle work?
Marten Blankesteijn: We have all the main titles from the Netherlands in our portfolio, as well as foreign titles like The Economist. Subscribers don’t buy an entire issue; they just pay by the article. The price varies between €0.05 and €0.89, with 70% of the revenue going to the publisher. If a subscriber isn’t satisfied with an article, he can get his money back.
T. What are the next steps?
M. B. We’ve just concluded a partnership with Axel Springer and the New York Times Company, which invested €3 million in our start-up. With these additional resources, we’re aiming at major European markets in 2015.
T. Doesn’t your model encourage loyal readers to give up on print?
M. B. Our app reaches a young audience that no longer buys newspapers and magazines on newsstands. Two-thirds of our 193,000 subscribers are under 35. So Blendle doesn’t undermine existing media business models. We deliver a new audience that’s ready to pay for journalistic content.
T. A lot of media have already created online subscription systems, like paywalls. What added value can you bring to these media?
M. B. What people don’t like about paywalls is having to sign up all the time. If you register with Blendle once, you get simple and permanent access to all the media you’re interested in.