It required some serious persuasion, but now Dutch and Belgian publishers are convinced. Blendle brings paid journalism to readers in a completely new way – not in a newspaper or magazine, but by the article.
Amsterdam, Februari 2015 – Four years ago, he stood in front of a magazine rack in the supermarket. Which one should he choose? There was something that interested him in each one, but no single magazine had everything he wanted. Frustrated, Marten Blankesteijn stood outside shortly after… without a magazine. But it planted an idea in his mind. With the help of internet entrepreneur Alexander Klöpping, it grew to become Blendle, a platform where you can buy individual articles from newspapers and magazines to read and share with your friends for just a few cents.
Technically, the platform fell into place fairly quickly; the biggest challenge was convincing publishers to participate in the first search engine for browsing printed media. “The nrc was the first to make a move,” says strategist Thomas Smolders. “After that, the rest didn’t want to be left behind.” Today, this new digital kiosk includes 52 titles, primarily from the Netherlands and Belgium.
As a game changer in the publishing world, Blendle is often compared to iTunes. The concept is ideal for anyone who does not want a fixed subscription (and the stack of paper that comes with it), but appreciates well-written articles and is willing to pay for them. And the payment includes another happy surprise: If you don’t enjoy the article, you can get your money back. It is apparently working: Four months after the launch there were already 100,000 registered users, 20 per cent of which have already topped up their starting credit at least once. Now that it has conquered the Dutch-speaking market, Blendle is eagerly looking across the border. “We are exploring the possibilities in several countries. I hope that five years from now we will also have a German and French Blendle.”
Update (November 2015):
In the fall of 2015 Blendle already added The Economist, The New York Times, The Washinton Post and the Wall Street Journal and a large selection of German print titles to its choice.