Over the weekend, I cam across Blendle , a dutch start-up that has built a news aggregation platform that allows users to read on a pay-per-article model. It has received early recognition and some financial support from the top publishing companies, such as New York Times and Axel Springer. It has also got the digital media world sit up and notice – after all with decreasing print revenues and increasing competition from digital media companies, aggregators and click-bait savvy upstarts, the traditional media companies are having a hard time monetize their content.
As someone with long standing interest in digital content – formats, creative tools, distribution tools and of course business models, AND a portfolio of apps that are trying to find our own answers to the monetization puzzle, I found this very interesting.
What if we took our news reader, inNews to a similar model?
We already use a virtual credit point model in our apps. In fact our credit points can be used across apps. Users can re-charge their virtual credit points through an in-app purchase of credits (from the store) and use it for transactions in our apps. Filmi Filmy (our hindi film songs app) allows users to store their playlists and share their playlists with others using the credit points. ThotOfU (our custom greeting card maker app) uses the credit points to purchase interesting pictures. We have demonstrated, although at a very very small scale that users are willing to buy credits and transact for these services.
What if we could offer the user seamless reading experience for detailed news stories against their virtual credits ? We could think of our credit points operating like a virtual currency for a digital content marketplace where you can buy pictures, storage, playlists, news and perhaps in the future any digital content for education, information or entertainment.
Its an intriguing thought. I will be discussing this with our developers and product team. If you have any ideas please feel free to share your ideas. I am painfully aware that India is a late bloomer in tech adoption, attitude changes and anything related to payments in India has a huge resistance. Yet, as someone who has always been at the leading edge of risk and ideas, I prefer to die by innovation than die without trying.