After an amazing start, which the news duly reported, Andrew Sullivan's experiment "The Dish" has joined the rest of us struggling to monetize or, as with me, achieve commercial objectives through operating media properties.
THE FISHBOWLNY says that Sullivan is reconfiguring the terms and conditions of access to "The Dish." The digital site gets its revenue only from subscriptions, not advertising, which costs $20 a year, which along the Northeast corridor is equivalent to five gallons of regular gasoline.
It seems that even the members of the cool crowd "The Dish" attracts have been manipulating the paywall. Initially, Sullivan allowed 7 free articles every 30 days. Now it will be 5 free every 60 days. The message is clear: Pay or don't hang out in this sand box.
THE NEW YORK TIMES, which is doing better with revenue from subscriptions than with advertising, has also strengthened the paywall. We used to get about 20 free articles a month. Now we get 10. THE WALL STREET JOURNAL has a bullet-proof paywall, but allows certain articles free with no tracking as to the number we retrieve. When there is a crisis, like Sandy, a lot of the premium content was free.
Meanwhile, the media news posted on Mediabistro is increasingly negative. Today's curation included the layoff of 87 at the WASHINGTON EXAMINER, which is going weekly from daily, end of DAILY VARIETY, and Roland Martin being forced out of CNN.