Micropayments for news "have not proven to be a successful model" for Dutch media platform Blendle, as it pulls the service for German and US audiences next month.
Blendle pioneered the 'pay-per-article' service for Dutch users when it launched in 2013, with services for German and US audiences following afterward.
However, it shut down the Dutch micropayment service in 2019, owing to failure to turn a profit, with services in Germany and the US continuing up until now.
Blendle opted in 2019 to lean into digital subscriptions for its Dutch user base and was acquired one year later by Cafeyn, a European digital media bundle provider.
Cafeyn has 2.5m active subscribers, without taking into account the imminent acquisition of the non-Nordic activities of Sweden's Readly, another subscription bundle platform.
Cafeyn CEO Ari Assuied confirmed to Journalism.co.uk that German and US micropayment user bases were "very limited compared to the size of the overall Cafeyn / Blendle base, hence our decision to close down the micropayment service."
Phasing out micropayments was always part of the vision ever since Cafeyn's acquisition, mostly because all-access bundles are what paying news consumers expect - not small, individual purchases.
"Unlimited subscription models have been set in other content industries like music (Spotify) and video (Netflix). These have become standards for content consumers including in the press and magazine industry," says Assuied.
The German and US service closes effectively on 4 September. Customers with remaining credits have another month to cash them in or exchange them for a redeemable voucher on the Cafeyn (US) or Readly (Germany) platform.
Cafeyn now offers hundreds of international English-speaking titles in its catalogue, covering news, women’s lifestyle, fashion and beauty, health, cars and motorcycles, gaming and tech, hobbies and crafts, home and garden, celebrity and TV, travel, sport and fitness, arts and culture, food and drink, music and film, science and nature, plus region-specific titles.
That roster includes big brands like The Guardian, The Independent, TIME, Vogue, ELLE, Science Focus, Men’s Health, BBC publications, Wired, and more.
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