Blogger Andrew Sullivan surprised readers Wednesday with the news that The Dish would part ways with The Daily Beast to form an independent site supported by readers.
In a blog post on The Daily Beast's site, Sullivan explained his decision to return to his original AndrewSullivan.com URL and to institute a reader-supported ad-free payment model. Joined by Dish editors Patrick Appel and Chris Bodenner, Sullivan launched Dish Publishing LLC, and offered readers unlimited access to content for $19.99 a year starting Feb. 1.
And so last week, the three of us signed an agreement setting up an independent company called Dish Publishing LLC, and agreed to strike out on our own with no safety net below us but you.
Here's the core principle: we want to create a place where readers - and readers alone - sustain the site. No bigger media companies will be subsidizing us; no venture capital will be sought to cushion our transition (unless my savings count as venture capital); and, most critically, no advertising will be getting in the way.
Sullivan said that he hoped a successful independent business model would help deter smaller sites from seeking corporate ownership.
We believe in a bottom-up Internet, which allows a thousand flowers to bloom, rather than a corporate-dominated web where the promise of a free space becomes co-opted by large and powerful institutions and intrusive advertising algorithms. We want to help build a new media environment that is not solely about advertising or profit above everything, but that is dedicated first to content and quality.
Daily Beast editor-in-chief, Tina Brown, wished Sullivan and co. well:
Sullivan, who has been one of the web's most prominent bloggers since he started in 2000, had previously listed his blog with The Atlantic and Time before joining The Daily Beast in 2011. You can sign up for a Dish membership here.
Fellow journalists took to Twitter to weigh in on Sullivan's declaration of independence:
Will now start referring to Feb. 1 as the "Sully Cliff" thebea.st/WkUoeJ— daveweigel (@daveweigel) January 2, 2013
Have been reading @sullydish in blog form since 2000. Where do I hit the "subscribe" button?— daveweigel (@daveweigel) January 2, 2013
Andrew Sullivan leaves Beast to take the Dish solo, entirely reader funded. Let's pay up & support his leap of faith: thebea.st/VvO87k— Philip Gourevitch (@PGourevitch) January 2, 2013