Defector Approaches Forty Thousand Paying Subscribers Just Nine Months After Launch

Esther Kezia Thorpe, Media Voices Podcast:

The new company is owned by its employees, and at the moment, is almost completely funded by subscriptions. Defector’s VP of Revenue and Operations Jasper Wang spoke to us on the Media Voices Podcast to tell the story of how the publication formed, how subscriptions are going, and whether other outlets could replicate its success.


Looking at other publications, Defector initially played around with a lower entry price point of around $5 a month. “We did the back of the envelope math and said, ‘$5 a month, if we can convert 30,000 people, that’s actually not enough money,’” Wang said. “We have to make sure that we’re not shooting ourselves in the foot, and make sure that that floor is high enough.”

I have been a huge fan of Defector since its launch last year, and I am excited to renew my subscription when the time comes. Its writers produce something reliably good to read every day, and I have been impressed to see a new publication succeed with the shocking strategy of asking people to pay enough money. And I don’t even like sports.