8 April 2022 🖋
If you’re not familiar, Puck is essentially a newsletter media collective. Along with editor and co-founder Jon Kelly, previously of Vanity Fair, a bunch of writers from various publications started their own individual newsletters under the Puck brand. A subscription of $50/year gets you access to all the Puck newsletters.
This isn’t exactly a new model, Every, which started on Substack and then built their own platform has done it as well, as have many others, I’m sure. Even legacy brands like The Atlantic have made a push into a spattering of newsletter offerings from well known writers that you get access to with a subscription.
The topic I’m going to touch on now isn’t even original to me since I wrote about wanting this pre-Puck back in 2020. What I’ve always wanted is essentially Puck of some of my favorite writers, alums from Grantland / The Ringer whose writing and personalities elevated those sites allowing them to punch way above their weight. Giving them the freedom to write what they want and get paid to do it.
I’ve thought about this in two ways: first, these writers: Jason Concepcion, Rembert Browne, Wesley Morris, Lindsey Zoladz, Danny Chau, Shea Serrano, form their own newsletter company and do something similar to Puck as a paid subscription.
However, what I think would be more interesting is if we build on Puck instead. Rather than adding a bunch of writers to their offering, you start building out pods connected to the greater collective, of which Puck would just be one pod. This allows Puck to operate independently as they do today, but also build out the greater collective, that creates some economies of scale, building their own little media collective/conglomerate where the writers are the owners a la Defector. Since I’m a terrible writer, rather than try to write out how it would work, I broke it out in this visual:
Essentially, you can subscribe to an individual pod, like Puck, or the entire Collective as a bundle. To encourage people to sign up for the Collective, every time a new pod gets added to the Collective, the price would go up, but users could be locked into their rate for life. Or they could just shell out the $50 for the one pod they are interested in. No sweat. But if you are able to build out, say, five pods, who all independently feel worthy of $50/yr, you could offer them as a bundle at $199/yr, with early adopters paying a lesser rate, all in all giving readers direct access to some of the best writers and minds in their fields. With the pods running mostly independently (given some of the shared infrastructure) you can keep things small and reduce some of the overhead. Oh, and podcasts, obviously.