A Dutch startup named Blendle has built what it calls an iTunes for news, where instead of buying songs, customers can purchase stories from different newspapers, magazines and websites. The benefit is that, rather than subscribing to an entire publication, users can select specific content. Individual articles go for as little as 14 cents. Available for a month, the service now has 60,000 registered users, and this week signed its first English-speaking publisher, The Economist.
“Blendle provides a web and mobile app that allows readers to scan the content, search through it, save it and share it, and also filters the various stories based on popularity,” reports GigaOM.
Twenty percent of the registered users have become paying subscribers, allowing Blendle “a six-figure sum” to pay for its articles, says Klopping.
“The biggest competitive threat for services like Blendle isn’t that people don’t want to pay for content, it’s that there is an ocean of free news and information available already through apps like Flipboard or Zite, not to mention through a web browser,” says GigaOM.
“There have been a number of attempts to build an English-language version of an ‘iTunes for news,’ and one of the most elaborate was called Ongo, a joint venture between the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Gannett newspaper chain, each of which reportedly invested $4 million in the project. Despite the fanfare, however — and an impressive list of partners that included more than 100 publications — Ongo shut its doors less than 18 months later.”