Medium CEO Ev Williams announced today at Upfront Summit that his company will launch a consumer subscription product, with the first version coming this quarter. This could help develop an additional revenue stream apart from advertisements. Finding a strong revenue source is critical, since Medium decided to lay off 50 staff, close its New York office, and announce a new direction last month.
Ev called the product “an upgrade to your Medium experience” and urged people to subscribe when it’s ready. He discussed the layoffs as part of the path to subscriptions, as previously Medium was focused on getting big publishers joining its platform by running ad sales for their properties itself. At the time of the layoffs, Ev wrote “It is too soon to say exactly what this will look like” regarding the new direction of the company. But now it’s coming into focus.
You can see a quick clip of him receiving applause for the announcement and discussing details here:
If Medium can get enough of its readers to subscribe to a paid product with extra features, it may be able to achieve its initial goal of building a different business model for publishers. Readership grew 300% last year, so it’s building a wide funnel for the subscriptions. While readers may be apprehensive to pay for different separate paywalled sites, they may be more willing to buy a subscription for a platform that aggregates multiple publishers together.
Founded in 2011, Medium has raised $132 million, and now it looks like there’s a plan to start making good on those investments.