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Credit: Daily Beast

The Daily Beast, an American news, politics and culture website, is launching a direct-to-consumer paid membership service called "Beast Inside" for the first time in its 10-year history.

Why it matters: Publishers are creating membership and subscription offerings to diversify their revenue streams from being overly-reliant on advertising, now that technology giants are taking most of the ad dollar growth that for decades went to media.

How it works: The membership will cost $100 annually but founding members, the first people to sign up, will get 50% off. The Daily Beast said it did a lot of pricing studies and surveys with the audience to determine the subscription price.

  • The audience The Beast is targeting is their most loyal following, the 1 million people that they say is visiting the site on average 50 times per month.
  • "There's a big group of hyper-loyalists and we want to be able to offer them something more and build deeper relationship with them," says CEO Heather Dietrick.
  • To be clear, this is an additional subscription offering from The Beast, not a paywall. Its website will remain free.

What it includes: Members will get access to an array of products, including a deep-dive newsletter, early access to the publication's weekend stories, a customized version of The Beast’s Cheat Sheet newsletter, a Trump-centric podcast, binge access to its monthly crime series and opportunities to share opinions and insights to be published on the Daily Beast homepage, sort of like a modern-day twist on an op-ed.

  • Consumers can expect to see new products included in the package as time goes on, according to Dietrick.

The bigger picture: The Daily Beast joins a long list of publishers, like Bloomberg, Vanity Fair, Wired, Business Insider and The Atlantic, that have all launched new paywalls or membership programs within the past year.

And while expanding revenue streams has been the main driver of this trend, on-demand access to information and entertainment has also become a consumer habit that is likely helping news outlets in getting consumers to cash in.

"Part of it is that it is smart for any business — not just media — to diversify their revenue like direct ads or e-commerce. And we see a super-loyal audience that's willing to pay for more because they love The Beast so much. And part of it because you see an audience that's become used to paying for really good content. Anywhere from newspapers to magazines to Netflix — you see the market moving that way too."
— Heather Dietrick

Go Deeper: Publishers are using paywalls to survive

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

4 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.