Blendle isn’t just about unbundling the traditional news package. The Dutch startup is quietly building a set of tools for the publishing industry that goes well beyond selling stories by the slice within a neatly designed interface—with all the controversial economics that go with such a business model.
In a recent conversation, company co-founder Alexander Klöpping related an anecdote that piqued my interest.
On Sept 8 of this year, famous Dutch writer, poet, and essayist Joost Zwagerman took his own life in his Amsterdam house. Five days before, he gave a long interview to HP/De Tijd, a monthly magazine covering politics, culture, and science. In a moving exchange, Zwagerman revealed he suffered from an incurable disease. The story was to run in the magazine’s October issue due three weeks later. The publishers faced a dilemma. On the one hand, this was great journalistic material that shouldn’t be spoiled on HP/De Tijd free website, which serves mostly as a teaser for the print edition; on the other hand, waiting a month wasn’t a workable option. “The publisher called me to ask if Blendle could run the piece on a stand alone basis… We said yes, of course!” Once edited, the story was put on Blendle (use Google Translate) at a price of €1 ($1.30). As expected, it sold very well (Klöpping declined to give specifics). But more than that, weeks later, the move acted as a boost for the sale of magazine copies that featured the Zwagerman interview on twelve pages.
To Alexander Klöpping, the De Tijd tactic is the perfect illustration of an upcoming trend in which publications could use Blendle as a promotional vehicle for their content without giving away the value, the uniqueness conveyed to readers—a great story could go on Blendle as a prelude to more coverage in the full edition still in the making. “Our interests are aligned, says Klöpping. Many magazines could follow the same path. As an example, consider Vanity Fair’s high profile pieces such as Caitlyn Jenner’s. This completely changes the dynamic for important stories…” (No doubt that Klöpping pitched the idea to Condé Nast, to be part of Blendle’s next year push on the US market.)
Content is a collection of data, an array of information and a bundle of details. As such content is flexible, it does not care on which platform it’s published or when it’s shared across social media and certainly content does not prefer one reader over the other.15th Mar 2017 Opinion
If you have Alexa, Amazon’s intelligent personal assistant, then you probably start your morning with a conversation with a chatbot. Because let’s admit it: chatbots are already everywhere. On the one hand, we love to hate them because they are, well, not human. On the other, we love to love them because they create an interactive and personalised experience. Brands have been quick to adopt this technology. Too many media companies lag behind experimenting in this field.16th Mar 2017 Insight News
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