First up: our monthly update on the independent Dish. We’re now at 28,532 subscribers, edging toward 30,000. In the twelve months since last April 30, we have had revenue of $900K for the first time. So we hit our target four months’ late, if you’re not counting affiliate income. The merch moment is looming fast, so stay tuned for t-shirts and mugs. And we’re moving toward putting some form of video ads on the site for non-subscribers, even as we remain completely committed to an ad-free site for subscribers. So if you want to avoid seeing any ads ever, you know what to do. Subscribe!
Here’s a graph of our revenue for the past three months:
The big hump is the second wave of newly subscribed Dishheads, renewing after one year. The red line is for recurring payments, either monthly or annually, and April’s total intake was a little over $34,000. Over time, the red proportion should grow and grow. As for traffic, well over a million individual people read something on the Dish in April, our third best month in the past year. The two most popular posts in April were “The Hounding Of A Heretic” and “Jo Becker’s Troubling Travesty Of Gay History.”
As you can see, our revenue remains comfortably above last year’s – but not by much. As a consequence, we simply don’t have the budget to commission, edit and nurture long-form journalism by non-staffers just yet. So the full potential of Deep Dish will have to wait a bit. But with our extra revenue, we have been able to hire two interns as staffers, Tracy and Jonah, and use their skills to deepen the regular Dish. You may have noticed that our aggregation has become much more comprehensive of late. Take a post from today on Donald Sterling. It has eleven separate voices adding to the debate, a majority of them after the jump, both from the blogosphere and the in-tray. That follows a post with seven voices; and a personal grilling on the comparison with the Eich case. Our reader threads are also longer and deeper than in the past – again, primarily visible after the jump. Our thread on Truvada and the potential of a pill to prevent HIV-transmission was in many ways more informative than a long essay – with eight separate posts, including my views, Dave Cullen’s input, and many readers. Also, rather than let small reader comments – ones that wouldn’t necessitate a new post – fall by the wayside, we’ve been adding them as updates more and more, in order to feature as much of your input as possible. Even the window contest is getting beefed up. And don’t forget the resuscitated Book Club, which adds another layer of depth to the Dish experience – and the affiliate revenue helps pay for it.
So we’re focusing on making the Dish itself deeper until our budget grows to accommodate more commissioned pieces. But I’m still at work on one long-form essay and planning more. More podcasts are scheduled. Our goal is to do more and more to reward subscribers. But we remain committed to gradual evolution rather than big sudden leaps. It has served us well over the last fourteen years, and we see no reason to change course now.
As far as today, our most trafficked posts were Sarah Palin: Anti-Christian and John Kerry Tells The Truth … Therefore He Must Apologize (the latest here). Other popular posts included a documentary about sounding gay and a roundup of reaction to last night’s botched execution. In better news, millennials seemed to be turning against both sponsored content and male genital mutilation. Your moment of Bowie here.
Updates you might have missed: readers debated the fairness of Sterling getting fined $2.5 million dollars for his bigotry, more readers in the banking industry provided their expert take on the crackdown on porn-star accounts, and yet more readers added to the debate over Jesus’ apocalyptic views.
Thanks again for being the best readership any bloggers could ask for – and sustaining this enterprise unlike any other on the web. Thanks to you, we are truly independent, and our business model is not aiming for a future moment when we will (somehow) break even. We are breaking even. And we’re doing that without ads yet! That’s something we’re proud of. As you should be too.
So see you in the morning.