Roger Ebert To Monetize Blog With “The Ebert Club”

Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert, perhaps wisely banking on his recent surge in media attention and popularity, is monetizing his blog by forming what he has dubbed “The Ebert Club.”

The club, which he will run in addition to his film reviews, will set subscribers back $5.00 a year beginning April 1 of this year. The cost includes an email newsletter containing links to his blog posts, selected Twitter posts, access to a private, members-only discussion thread, access to Ebert’s “The Web Report,” as well as advance notice of Ebertfest (Ebert’s annual film festival in Champaign, Illinois) ticket availability.

Ebert explains the thought process behind The Ebert Club in an in-depth, very highly recommended (Really. Do go read it. Added incentive: Porn!) blog post about different individuals and publications’ success — or lack thereof — when it comes to monetizing content. Writes Ebert:

This entry is not a pitch for The Ebert Club. It is a justification. Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary over many a quaint and curious file of optically scanned tear-sheets, it occurred to be that perhaps the answer was to experiment with Value Added, as the British put it. Keep the site free for everybody, and find out how many readers might be willing to pay a little extra for an additional resource. I enlisted a longtime reader, Marie Haws, to serve as the Club Secretary. She’s an artist, a graphic designer, an animator, and, as blog readers know, a Surfing Master. She will oversee our Club Newsletter. I’ve signed up for it myself.

Tell us, readers: Would you be willing to pay an annual fee for what basically amounts to “VIP access” to web content and special perks?