Global round-up: NYT, Axel Springer invest in Blendle

Global round-up: NYT, Axel Springer invest in BlendleDozens of Germany's most influential news outlets have signed up to pay-per-story service Blendle

The New York Times Company has teamed with Germany publisher Axel Springer in a joint €3 million investment in Dutch news start-up Blendle, a service where readers pay by the article.

Blendle has said that it will use the funding to expand the platform beyond the Netherlands and through Europe over the next few years.

The pay per article platform launched in May after a trial phase and has ambitions to become the “iTunes for journalism”.

In a post after the funding was formalised, Dutch entrepreneur and Blendle co-founder Alexander Klöpping said that “great journalism deserves a great reading experience” and the company was excited at the prospect of providing that.

“Because of Blendle, the people of The Netherlands can flip through all print newspapers and magazines in their country for free,” Mr Klöpping said.

“Only when they actually read an article, they have to pay for that single article.” If they don’t like the story, they can instantly have their money refunded, he said.

Axel Springer chief executive Mathias Döpfner said that as a publisher he wanted to convince users to pay for great journalism in the digital age.

“I’m therefore delighted that a European start-up is building a platform for paid access to quality journalism that is easy to use. Blendle has the potential to attract young, internet savvy readers.”

The New York Times Company and Axel Springer have not announced the portion of investment each company has made.

UK national newspaper ad boost

UK national newspaper advertising revenue is forecast to see year-on-year growth in 2015, according to an Advertising Association and Warc report.

The forecast showed that UK national newspapers are expected to see a 1 per cent increase in overall ad spend in 2015, after a forecast of a 2.8 per cent decline in 2014.

Most of that increase will be seen in continued growth in digital ad revenue for major publishers’ online properties. The report said that digital ad revenue was £184 million in 2013, a 19.5 per cent boost on 2013 and is forecast to increase by a further 15.4 per cent in 2014 and 22.8 per cent in 2015.

This would see publishers’ digital ad revenue at around £261 for 2015, out of an expected overall ad revenue of £1.42 billion for that year.

The report did however show negative estimates for regionals. Regional newspaper ad revenues are forecast to fall 5 per cent this year and 4.4 per cent in 2015.

New data journalism tool

Collaborative data journalism tool Swarmize has launched with a plan to provide editors and reporters with a platform to collect, analyse and output information.

The platform, which was funded by a Knight Foundation grant as part of the Knight News Challenge, was supported by The Guardian in its development, and was built over the last four months.

According to the developers of the tool, Swarmize allows reporters to “create simple surveys in minutes or build engaging interactives and custom data collectors”.

In an interview with Journalism.co.uk, the general manager of new business for The Guardian, Matt McAlister, said The Guardian and many other news organisations used Google Docs for collecting data and although that was useful, it had shortfalls other technologies had overcome.

“Data journalism has moved a lot in the last couple of years, and it [Google Docs] is just too limited for some of the sophisticated stuff that people want to do,” he said.

Swarmize would provide both an alternative to existing tools and help journalists tell new types of stories, said Mr McAlister. He also said it would simplify the process of building interactive pieces.

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