Medium is seeking to juice up its premium subscription content in its home market with the acquisition of The Bold Italic. The 10-year-old culture magazine will go behind the $5 per month Medium Membership paywall. The deal will keep The Bold Italic afloat when other San Francisco-local publications have struggled, following the shutdown of the The Oakland Tribune an SFist plus the layoff of most the Easy Bay Express.
The Bold Italic could make Medium Membership more appealing to Bay Area techies, newshounds, and community-philes. It needs all the subscribers it can get after pivoting away from ads and laying off 50 employees as well as shuttering two offices in 2017. That’s despite having raised $13Last year it gave some publications whiplash by suddenly terminating its program that let them operate their own paywalls on the Medium platform.
Bringing in premier, well-branded content could make people see Medium Membership as more than just paying for what you could get elsewhere for free.