New Business Model from Very Unlikely of Places

I stumbled upon The New Enquiry by chance and was totally blown away, both by their content and their business mdoel.

They are an Ad-Free online magazine & survive by the way of subscriptions (2$ per month) & donations. And they don’t have a firewall.

So, for all practical purposes, they create and share content that is free for anyone to consume but still people are willing to pay subscription to receive the same content but in coherent, thematic clusters, which is more intuitive and easy to read.

In an interview given to “Columbia Journalism Review“, the founders claim that they recieve 30 to 50 new subscribers every week.

They also serve a very niche audience, the one’s that want to be at the intersection of culture, arts and politics.

They describe themselves on their about page as below:

The New Inquiry is a space for discussion that aspires to enrich cultural and public life by putting all available resources—both digital and material—toward the promotion and exploration of ideas.

Though these are early days for them, I am sure that they will find ways to not only survive in this hyper-competitive world, but will also become more and more relevant to thier tribes (as Seth would describe their subscribers).

This also reminds me of the TED talk by Amanda Palmer where she talks about her exeprience with her fans. She talks about the art of asking. Can this be a valid pricing model?

Both Amanda and TNI have identified their niche audience and have sought their support successfully.

Their story also make me realize that we strive to find complex solutions for problems, while simple and easy solutions to the same problems could exist right infront of our eyes.

Almost every one complains about advertising and advertisors, the disruption in the advertising & publishing industry; they just went ahead and eliminated advertisements altogether. What an idea!

How many such things do we complain about can be removed? A wise man once shared his wisdom about solving problems:

  • Connect the un-connected & vice versa
  • Bundle the seperate and unbundle the bundled
  • Turn a product to a service and a service to a product

The best way to solve a problem is to “SKIP IT” and I think this is exactly what these folks did.

The question that you need to answer yourself is the following:

What problem or challenge are we struggling with and one that you would be better off SKIPPING? What product are you going to turn into a service?

Do join in the conversation by sharing your thoughts by commenting below.

PS: Pay as you want pricing model has been around for a long time now. More information here. What happens when the newspaper industry adopts this model?

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