Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, is announcing a new project called Newspack. While details are still thin, the company wants to help news organizations with an all-in-one solution to publish and monetize their content.
WordPress, the open-source project that lets you create websites on WordPress.com, is already a solid content management system (we use it at TechCrunch). But it becomes more difficult to use once you want to monetize your content using subscriptions, metered paywalls and user accounts. WordPress doesn’t have a native solution for that.
That’s why Automattic is working on a platform for news organizations — think about it as a version of WordPress specifically designed for news organizations. The company wants to help local news organizations more specifically, as those media companies don’t necessarily have a ton of development resources.
Media organizations can already apply to work with Automattic on this new platform. The service will be free during the development phase, and you can expect to pay $1,000 to $2,000 per month after that.
Automattic, Spirited Media and News Revenue Hub have raised $2.4 million for this project. Google is spending $1.2 million through the Google News Initiative. The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, blockchain organization ConsenSys, Civil Media and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation are also funding the project.
It’s an interesting move, as Medium has been trying to monetize online content for a while (with mixed results). Bigger players won’t necessarily move to Newspack. But many smaller websites covering a single topic or a small area could use multiple options on this front.