Apps like Blendle are changing the way we consume news

By: Maggie Dickman

 

A screenshot of the Blendle website.

A screenshot of the Blendle website.

It’s easy to get the news right at our fingertips. Apps make it simple for us to access the news, with different media outlets finding better, more creative ways of presenting news and articles to us in our busy lives. What’s the next big thing to hit the news world? It might be the app and website Blendle, developed in the Netherlands.

This app gives readers a new way of finding the news they want to read. How many times has a pay wall ever prevented you from reading an article? This is what Blendle wants to prevent. The app allows readers to pick which articles they want to read, and instead of paying a certain fee for a monthly subscription to the site as a whole, you can read what you want and pay on an article by article basis.

Another benefit? If you don’t like an article, you can simply ask for a refund.

Blendle is being dubbed as “the Spotify for journalism” because people are paying for their news: “When I look at the age of our users they’re really young. That very often means that people are spending money for the first time in their lives on journalism. Like they probably are right now on Spotify and Netflix. They’re paying for journalism right now and that makes me very excited,”  co-founder Alexander Klöpping said.

The app offers another unique feature. You can see what your friends are reading or search by topic and journalist. The only catch? It is currently only available in the Netherlands.

The creators’ goal is to spread the app around Europe and see where it goes from there. However, The New York Times Co. and Axel Springer Digital Ventures have invested $3.8 million in the company, giving hope to Blendle lovers sparking up around the world. “It’s just so amazing to us that it’s so annoying to buy journalism, to register at all these different websites. If you want to buy an app on your iPhone it’s just two clicks. But if you want to read an article on the Wall Street Journal you need to fill out a form,” Klöpping said to TechCrunch. The program launched in April and already has 130,000 registered users.

Would an app like this work in the United States? How would this service affect the monthly subscription rates of regular online newspapers and magazines? Would you use an app like Blendle?

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13 responses to “Apps like Blendle are changing the way we consume news

  1. This App sounds really fun, helpful and innovative. I always find myself searching on news sites until I find something I want to read about. But with this app, it would be really time efficient and helpful to just be able to look under one, and pic a category. I also love the fact that this app is allowing a younger generation to get more involved in the news, because that is important. Having a notified and up-to-date youth is something that is not too common in the US, I know as a kid I had no clue what was going on. Blendle seems like an awesome source, with the ability to choose and like, just like on Spotify. You create your own genre of news you want to read, and that is what is going to make this app popular. People love being in control, and this app allows just that. The ability to receive your money back is also a great function, because saving money is on peoples top list of priorities. We do not want to waste money on articles we did not find important.

    • Yeah, I found the concept of this app fascinating. Being able to sort our news, find what we want to read, and pick out articles on a site typically blocked by a paywall would be great. The only downfall I would see is reading solely under one category and not worrying about all aspects of the news. But, I would love to follow some journalists and get my news in a different way. I’m hoping this app will grow and spread–I’d love to try it here in the U.S.

  2. I think that this is an interesting idea, but I am not sure if younger generations would actually pay to read articles on a pay-per article basis. As news presence becomes increasingly popular online, I think people would still find articles they are interested in reading without paying for it.

    I personally like the idea of a monthly subscription better, because there is an unlimited access to that site with a one-time payment.

    The feature that you can search by journalist is really cool, and I’m interested to see if it becomes widely used in the Netherlands. If the NY Times has invested in this app, it must be onto something.

    • I am interested in learning more about their demographics. I personally want to try this app, and I’m hoping that, like you said, if the New York Times invested in this app, then maybe it will make it here in the U.S. I think it’s an interesting concept, and it makes me wonder what other ways news will be shared.

  3. I think that it’s awesome that young people are starting to see the value of news journalism and paying for material to read. I don’t think, however, that in places like the US it’ll catch on. There’s too much accessible news on the internet for people to think that paying for news they find most interesting is justifiable. However, I do agree with Courtney that if the NY Times has already invested in the app, there’s definitely a draw in it that must have some potential.

    I almost wish that you could filter through the articles or subjects that you like and buy a monthly subscription based on those. Sort of like a magazine, but with the news feel. I think something like that would become popular really fast if they advertised that as one of their services.

    • I do agree with what you’re saying about having free news available. Even I don’t think I’d want to pay too much for a single article, especially if I thought I could find a similar one somewhere else. I really like the idea you posed at the end–I think that would be a great thing to have. I have yet to pay for a monthly subscription to a news site, but I think I would do it if I knew I would be getting articles that I really enjoy reading.

  4. This is such a nifty app. I love the “Spotify of journalism” analogy–that’s exactly what I was thinking. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’ll catch on in the US. People–especially young people–don’t want to pay for anything. (Just look at all the pirated movie websites.) It seems to me that a lot of people are getting their news for free via sources like Twitter and Buzzfeed. I doubt they’ll be willing to switch to a paid version any time soon.

    • That is very true. I would love to see how the app works and give it a try, but I think I would even be a little hesitant. It is interesting to see how the way we get our news is constantly changing, so I’m excited to see what will be the next great idea.

  5. This is really cool, and if/when it comes to the states I definitely want to give it a try. With so many newspapers and news outlets online or maintaining a solely online presence, I think that Blendle will fit well into the constantly changing field and consumption of journalism. Also, it encourages people to fund the sources they get the articles from, since some sites allow you to get a certain amount of articles free until you have to pay, which is awesome but it also doesn’t financially benefit the source. I think the success of this site is going to largely depend on how expensive the article is and how the younger generation receives it, because as Courtney said, I think it has a better chance of being successful with older generations.

    • I agree with you about getting that extra funding. I know that if I run out of free articles to read on a site, then I just move on to a new news source. If I ran out of articles, but I could pay a little bit to still read a single article from that site, then I think that would be a great alternative to paying for the monthly subscription. It’s always interesting to see how the way we consume news is changing, and I’m hoping this app will spread to the United States soon since I’d love to give it a try!

  6. I’m constantly told that I will not make any money because I am a journalism major so I am excited aout the prospect of this new slice of this economic pie. However, I feel like journalism is a component to a democracy and should not be something that becomes “exclusive” to the point where it is discriminating against those who cannot afford access to the news. Everyone deserves the right to information. That is an aspect of the pay-walls that annoys me. I want free news but I want journalists to get paid.

  7. Unfortunately I have to agree with some of the comments above. It sounds like a cool app, but I can’t imagine many people paying for it. Young people especially are unlikely to pay for a news article when they can get similar info on Twitter or Facebook. However, I think it’s an interesting idea to make news more social by including what others are reading.

  8. I think this is such a creative and awesome app! I agree with some of the comments above, it would be hard to get people to pay for the news. But on the other hand, I think the fact that readers can tailor what they see and read will push people to pay for their articles. If this came to America I would definitely get it!

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