Medium.com has finally ended its search for a new business plan by coming up with… an old business plan.
A subscription service.
We invite you to join us as a paid member and to help support an ad-free platform that delivers the right type of content: the type that can only be created when independent writers and publishers are rewarded based on value rather than clicks. Medium will remain free and open for anyone who wants to share ideas with the world. And now, as a reader, you can upgrade to become a member and experience a new layer of Medium:Source: https://medium.com/membership
They’ve got some smart cookies over there. I mean I don’t think anybody has ever come up with an idea for a website or a service or whatever and thought to monetize it through a subscription… *pause for chuckle*
But the part I found most interesting was this statement here…
an ad-free platform that delivers the right type of content: the type that can only be created when independent writers and publishers are rewarded based on value
So there are no advertisements for subscribers… and writers are going to be rewarded by the ‘value’ of their work… so how are they going to be paid? Or I suppose I mean how is Medium going to calculate how they should get paid?
Because obviously the subscription revenue Medium gets is going to have to be split with writers if there are no advertisements. So we know the what but not the how.
Ultimately to me it all sounds really similar to the general idea behind Kindle Unlimited.
For those of you who don’t know how Kindle Unlimited works, you pay a flat monthly fee ($9.99 at time of writing) and you’re given access to a library of content that you can consume at will.
If an author chooses to participate, than that means customers no longer have to buy each individual book / audiobook. Authors of works are compensated for their participation in the program through a kind of ‘percentage of the pot’ calculation…
You’ll get one combined royalty payment for both KU and KOLL, paid according to the same payment schedule and payment method you selected for your other KDP sales.
We review the size of the KDP Select Global Fund each month in order to make it compelling for authors to enroll their books in KDP Select. We announce the fund monthly in our community forum on kdp.amazon.com.
The share of fund allocated to each country varies based on a number of factors, such as exchange rates, customer reading behavior, and local subscription pricing. Author earnings are then determined by their share of total pages read, up to a total of 3,000 pages per customer per title.
Here are some examples of how it would work if the fund was $10M and 100,000,000 total pages were read in the month:
- The author of a 100 page book that was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $1,000 ($10 million multiplied by 10,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).
- The author of a 200 page book that was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $2,000 ($10 million multiplied by 20,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).
- The author of a 200 page book that was borrowed 100 times but only read halfway through on average would earn $1,000 ($10 million multiplied by 10,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).Read more on that here: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=AI3QMVN4FMTXJ
So yeah… sounds like what Medium is going to be doing.
Honestly the general setup of Kindle Unlimited annoys me from a writer’s perspective but from a consumer’s perspective it’s extremely easy to see the value of a service like Kindle Unlimited.
And there’s the rub. Kindle Unlimited works because Amazon has both pieces of the puzzle… a huge base of content for the program and a huge number of customers to join the program.
Medium can’t offer anything like that customer or content wise.
So what sets Medium’s subscription apart from any other standard media website like the New York Times or a Vice media site? Nothing much.
In the end Medium has said too little about how their program will work or what content they’ll actually offer… so for now… well that’s all folks.