February 24, 2017, I wrote about Medium charging $75 for custom domain subscription, in that same article I quoted Techcrunch’s Josh Christine talking about Medium’s plan to roll out a subscription model this quarter (Q1). Guess what? It has happened!
Just today, I received a mail from Ev Williams, CEO Medium talking about their Partner Program and the launch of their subscription model. He argued in an unlisted post (cannot be found by SEO and not listed on public pages such as homepage) that this subscription model would help Medium “change what stories get told”.
What do you get for becoming a member of Medium?
He listed 3 benefits of becoming a member. They include:
- A new homepage: This, they aim would better reflect our interests. How do they even know our interest? Recall, when you are new to Medium, they ask you to select tags you are interested in. And as time goes on, some of you follow more tags. Not only that, your homepage gets curated and updated 3 times a day (Morning, Afternoon and Evening Edition). Here is mine for example:
- Exclusive stories: Basically, this would populate what makes up your new homepage (as discussed in item 1). Our monthly payments to Medium would be used to pay Writers and Publishers who are expected to deliver quality articles. Now, this stories are going to be visible to only members and would be sent in email recaps.
- Offline reading list: Found an article you love on Medium, but no time to read it now? simply queue it up in your Medium reading list which can later be accessed even when you are offline from the mobile app.
BONUS: Once you become a Member, you get a green incomplete circle around your profile picture. Just like a Twitter, blue-tick verified badge (but not because you are a celebrity, sadly) and the month you got verified.
Is this worth the $5?
Well, this question is tricky and would depend on the kind of Medium User you are. For less vested writers and readers on Medium, you’ll be fine with the free version. But for Writers who either own Publications or are looking to make money from their writings, then it might be good to have a subscription so you can contribute to the future of Medium (as Ev promised us). Same goes for readers, if you are keen on reading thought-pieces from researchers and thought leaders you might be happier with a curated homepage and exclusive stories. Hence, it all depends on how much stake and affinity you have in and towards Medium.
When will Medium break-even?
As for the business, I believe Medium is soon on its way to make a profit. Assuming only 5% of the over 30 million visitors have an account on the platform. That would mean about 1.5 Million accounts. Now, out of that 1.5Million imagine 10% (150,000) get a membership subscription of $5, that would equal $750, 000 monthly in revenue. Although Ev, claims they are pouring 100% of the first set of revenue from subscription into getting quality content, in the long run, they would be able to cover some of their costs and eventually break-even, which means they can now be on their way to profit-making (this is not an economic article would have done a forecast).
In summary, Medium’s CEO’s catchphrase involves publishing content that makes people smarter. And not just content that can be monetised for Ad clicks. He is refocusing the attention on the users (consumers of the content) and not just on the advertisers (as many blogging platforms have done).
Question: Are the Users willing to pay?