Few months back, Medium launched their subscription model. Though it is in the right direction of selling premium content on the platform, I see potential for a better model.
How Medium’s current model works?
- Publishers get on board the platform
- They publish both free and locked (premium) content
- Locked content are available to paying members of Medium (3 free articles per month allowed)
- Publishers get paid based on the user response (read “medium claps”) to locked articles
- More claps lead to more revenue (~0 claps lead to ~0 revenue!)
To put it visually, here’s how it looks.
The problems I see with this model…
- Biggies like NYTimes, FT, Bloomberg etc. get on to the platform – not for claps, but for an easier or simplified subscription model
- Readers are already sold on the brand names, they trust these brands to deliver quality content
- Also, as a reader I pay a premium for generic content – content I don’t read or consider valuable
- Value proposition for the publisher is vague or unsubstantial
Here’s my proposed business model for Medium…
- Bundle the publishers
- Create a News bundle with say NYTimes, FT, Bloomberg, Guardian etc. Create a Tech bundle with say Wired, FastCompany etc.
- Sell bundles to readers. If I am looking for News content, I subscribe to the News bundle
- I can add more bundles based on my interest, at a minimal top-up to my subscription (similar to the way how TV channel bundles work)
- It is a “win-win” for publishers and readers
- Readers – I pay for what I read. I pay a fraction of what I pay to individual news providers
- Publishers – I get a consistent revenue stream. I offer a simplified way to on-board readers, while compromising on the profits
Again, here is the updated visual for the new model.
As a side note, this is exactly the model that Google is trying to get into – Google makes changes to help publishers sell subscriptions. Better to react fast!!