I think the money to be made is not on the reader side, but on the writer side. Medium is a great tool for writers, charge them and split the features they have access to, into paid and premium.
Want to post x times per month? Pay. What more storage? Pay.
Even adding something like an App Store for allowing them to expand Medium's feature set makes sense, as they would put developers to work for Medium and the writers, and Medium could earn a revenue share.
But charging the readers when we barely have time to read.. that's not going to work in my opinion.
Subscribing to written content isn't really new. Sites like the New Yorker and Harvard Business Review have been paygating content for a long time. The trick is, it has to be well researched and well written. I don't want to pay for a "Why my UI Kit made me a million dollars and you should too..." post.
I'm going to pay for this for a while, and see how it goes. At the end of the day, I get lots of great information from channels like Signal v Noise, the Economist, Obama's Whitehouse (RIP), and more. We'll see if it's worth it!
Reading List, Exclusive Articles, Early Access to features? Those don't seem like features worth paying for. That sounds like more of a donation—what I would expect from a non-profit. Unfortunately, that isn't Medium.
I think Ev has an incredible product mind, but I can't understand the astronomical amount of money raised. Their A round was $25M. I feel like they could have built a WordPress, Ghost competitor and charged writers and publishers for premium features—that could have had a great business.
Unfortunately, when you raise $132M you have to become a billion-dollar company. I just don't see a path to that. I think we'll see an acquisition that gets investors some of their money back. Who knows what the purchaser will do.
Also, it seems weird that this page has different styles from the rest of Medium. Maybe this is an early access preview?
Yes, I saw the mail as well. I would sign up right away but I don't understand what I'll gain from it.