What Does Membership Mean for BuzzFeed News — at a Company That’s Already Raised Nearly $500 Million in Venture Capital?
Even the most digital-native publishers cannot resist the siren call of a tote bag. But a membership pitch sounds different coming from a public radio station than from a private company with a billion-dollar valuation.
It would never go behind a paywall, unlike other news organizations “because your ability to access news is important every day” — but after raising half a billion dollars in venture funding, BuzzFeed has now started a quasi-membership program for readers to chip in at $5/month. (And if you pay up front for the year you get a tote bag!)
BuzzFeed, Vox Media, Vice, and even Mic — R.I.P. — are part of the club of publishers born of the digital age, Miracle-Gro’n with VC money, constricted by the standard industry pressures, and now evaluating next moves. But BuzzFeed is, so far, the only one of them that has turned to a more granular, reader-revenue approach.