Andrew Sullivan on the current state of The Dish fundraising:

I’ve even decided not to take a salary this year at all in order to invest in the Dish itself and keep it afloat. We’re still chugging along steadily in revenue, and we are brainstorming about new sources of income (stay tuned), but it remains unlikely that we will reach our target of $900,000 by the end of the year, even though we have already brought in gross revenue of around $680,000 – three-quarters of the way there.

Sullivan taking The Dish to a completely reader-supported business model created a huge wave of attention from other media outlets, as well as hope from other publishers (both indies and bigger media sites). In many of the shows I’ve listened to and articles I’ve read over the past few months that discuss the future of publishing, Sullivan’s leap with The Dish has been one of the central examples. If he can’t make it then that stinks.

We’re still in the beginning of this era where content creators and artists have a genuine fighting chance to be wholly fan-supported. And while it’s easier than ever, it’s still not easy.

When Ben Brooks eschewed all his ads and went wholly reader-supported, he ended up taking a hit in his site’s overall revenue — dropping from $2,100/month in ad revenue to $1,000/month in member support.

When I took this site full time two years ago, my business model was (and still is) to have the membership exist alongside the advertising revenue — I need both streams to make it work.

And it looks like The Dish also needs to find other revenue streams in addition to their subscription paywall in order to meet their goal of $900,000/year.

Coming back to the aforelilnked On The Media podcast: “There is no silver bullet. There is only experimentation, determination, and a whole lot of blind hope.”

May 17, 2013