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A new dawn for the press?

Bright skyAre newspapers doomed? So far, one economic model has dominated the print media sector: sales per-issue. A reader had to buy the whole pack of articles proposed by a newspaper or magazine in its latest edition to enjoy the interview, news or survey he/she was interested in.

This may soon be consigned to history. Following in the footsteps of the music business, where singles’ purchases – as opposed to albums’ purchases – are now dominant thanks to Itunes, the media world may soon shift to a sales per-unit model.

In the Netherlands, a new platform is emerging as the “Itunes of the media”. The concept popped up in the brain of Marten Blankesteijn, its founder, while he was out on a Friday night. Marten envisioned a press where one could read what he wants to read, subject to the payment of corresponding fees, but per-unit. And so was born Blendle, a platform where you can buy press articles per unit, and which chose a “satisfied or money back” approach.

The platform was officially launched on April 28 of this year, with articles from 15 Dutch newspapers and magazines. The publishers themselves set the price of the articles, which vary from 15 to 80 cents, 30% of this amount going to the start-up.

The concept is proving a success in Holland, where most people still read newspapers every day. The idea apparently hit a cord with the readers tired of having to subscribe to whole magazines and of receiving a lot of articles superfluous.

Will Blendle save the press? The fact that all articles can be found on a single platform is a real asset. The audience loves the idea of having all the media joining all together a single platform to satisfy the consumers. While going on Blendle, the readers can see the selections of their friends as well as all articles that have been shared, giving them a foretaste of what might interest them. Whatever the article from any newspaper or magazine, all payments are on a single platform, and €2.50 are offered to new users for a test.

A search engine is available and lets users follow the topics they are interested in. It is also possible to receive email alerts. Journalists are incentivized to provide quality articles as the reader can be refunded if he considers a text unworthy of the price.

In France, another start-up is following Blendle, the platform JOL Store, where you can find all kinds of articles (written, audio, video) in all languages. Just like with its Dutch counterpart Blendle, on JOL Store, people do only pay what they want to see and the articles are sold per-unit.

Journalists from around the world can register on JOL Social, the first global social network for professional journalists, and publish their contents, which can be purchased without any subscription. The network has just over 2000 members in 130 countries.

By aiming the consumers at the heart of their needs, the sale of items per-unit is a true revolution in the media world, meeting of course the consumers’ expectations, though still threatening the already ailing printed press sector. This may be the dusk of an old model and the dawn of a new one.

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