Men's website Blokely drops ads and raises paywall

Online men's lifestyle magazine Blokely has put its content behind a paywall and dropped all display advertising from its website, in a move its founder believes will help writers and journalists "already getting a raw deal from the digital revolution's ‘Age of Free'".

Blokely.com, which launched in January and claimed to have more than 60,000 "unique page views" last month, will from today charge for all website content with the exception of one free story per day and its rolling news panel.

The Blokely Membership Pass will offer a range of options from weekly rates to longer-term digital subscriptions, and existing readers are being offered 'substantial incentives'to subscribe including early-bird discounts. Tariffs range from £2.50 for weekly use to £3.95 for access to the site for a month, while discounts will apply for longer term commitment.

Blokely founder James York said the paywall move was 'an easy business decision for Blokely and an important one for the future of digital journalism".

'We're delighted to make this bold and market leading decision, many a publisher knows this is their inevitable future. We're lucky that we're fresh enough to do it sooner rather than later,'he said.

'This model helps us invest in talented writers and continuously innovate to evolve our product. The future is digital and there is no reason why all digital content should not be of magazine-grade quality.

'It's clear that few are selling digital content, but we see that as an opportunity. This will only help our writers and journalists already getting a raw deal from the digital revolution's ‘Age of Free'.

'At Blokely we already create original magazine-grade content across the digital spectrum. This new approach enhances our editorial independence and opens up great distribution opportunities."

Commenting on the decision to drop display advertising, he added: 'If we continued with the standard ad-model we would have had to surrender our editorial ideals which I was not prepared to do.

'By dropping display advertising for our membership passes we will shield our reader from oversaturated advertisement messages and encourage more creative brands to work with us on better content.

'If we are looking at this laterally it will only cost our readers one cup of franchised coffee a month to continue our journey with us.'

Earlier this year the website hired former GMTV presenter Andrew Castle, ex-FHM deputy style editor Matthew Hambly and cricketer James Anderson as contributors.

To coincide with the new subscription model it has created a Kindle edition and a new M.Blokely mobile edition of the site which will be launched in coming weeks.

It has also launched a new section called 'Geek", focusing on technology, web and gaming stories.

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