Should we look to the Netherlands for the future of newspapers? The two young Dutch entrepreneurs, Marten Blankesteijn and Alexander Klöpping, behind start-up Blendle have persuaded The New York Times Company and German publisher Axel Springer to give them €3m (£2.35m) to extend an app that has already signed up the entire newsstand in the Netherlands.
It’s not a paywall model, in fact Blendle’s watchword is “We hate paywalls”. Instead, users can browse headlines at will and only pay for articles they read – at an average cost of 13p – and can claim a refund for pieces they don’t like. Publishers take 70 per cent of revenues. In six months, 130,000 readers have signed up.
Of course, Dutch titles don’t have the same opportunities as the English-language press for building global scale. But Blendle’s new backers bring a ringing endorsement and the company is looking to take its model to new markets. It is said that Germany and the United States could be next in its sights.