Why Thousands Of People Are Giving $5 To Roger Ebert

roger ebert

Bill Mitchell over at Poynter.org takes a look at Roger Ebert’s premium club plan, which offers members exclusive RSS feeds, threads and newsletters for $4.99 per year.

Ebert told Mitchell that membership is in the “thousands” but exact numbers are “none of your beeswax.”

Why are so many people signing up for Ebert’s $5 plan?

According to Mitchell, readers especially like these Ebert offerings in the premium package:

  • The opportunity to support the work of someone they’ve long admired and appreciated.
  • The opportunity to become part of something reflecting their interests and, in some cases, their passion about movies.
  • The opportunity to enjoy both of those benefits at a very, very low price.

Essentially, readers like paying for a closer relationship with Ebert and feel good about contributing to a writer and a passion they love.

Mitchell calls it the “appreciation model,” a kind of virtual tip jar that people are willing to contribute to if they like the man and his content. And they do, and have offered to pay him even more money.

As PaidContent’s Staci Kramer noted about Ebert’s offer: “The price is less than a movie ticket, small enough to be an impulse buy and large enough to possibly create some meaningful income without creating a lot of extra work for Ebert. (Heck, I just stopped writing long enough to sign up.)”

We did the same thing.

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