Ballsy move by Sully:

And so, as we contemplated the end of our contract with the Beast at the end of 2012, we faced a decision. As usual, we sought your input and the blogosphere’s – hence the not-terribly subtle thread that explored whether online readers will ever pay for content, and how. The answer is: no one really knows. But as we debated and discussed that unknowable future, we felt more and more that getting readers to pay a small amount for content was the only truly solid future for online journalism. And since the Dish has, from its beginnings, attempted to pioneer exactly such a solid future for web journalism, we also felt we almost had a duty to try and see if we could help break some new ground.

The only completely clear and transparent way to do this, we concluded, was to become totally independent of other media entities and rely entirely on you for our salaries, health insurance, and legal, technological and accounting expenses.

They’re going it alone. With the massive pageview-generator that is Andrew Sullivan jumping ship, I don’t know how The Daily Beast survives.

Sully & Co. are setting up a subscription plan, at the introductory price of $19.99 for the first year. More:

We need, in particular, to get paid decently for what is extremely intense work 365 days a year. Some people I bump into ask me how we produce 240 posts a week (13,000 separate posts last year alone) or how we read the 90,000 emails we get a year. I have a simple answer: we work our asses off.

I’ve just subscribed to it. We are in the same business, and I know particularly well how much hard work it takes to keep a lively blog going. And it’s worth it to me to support what they do. Longtime readers know that Andrew and I have argued and fallen out over various issues over the years, and have agreed on some of them as well. The thing about Andrew’s blog is that even when it drives me crazy, I keep reading it. I have to. I want to. He and his team are scooping up stories and information that means something to me. I don’t care about pot, and I don’t care about Obama love, and I don’t care about the evolution of gay culture — three of Sully’s big themes. I think Sully is often unfair to his enemies, especially the Pope.

What I do care about is the broader cultural coverage the Dish team aggregates, which has for years given me lots to think about, and, of course, to blog about. And what I do care about is reading opinion journalism that engages me and makes me argue with it, even when it ticks me off. I love The Dish sometimes, I hate it other times, but above all, I read it, several times a day. With so many sites out there clamoring for one’s attention, that’s quite an accomplishment. Therefore, I’m happy to support them financially, and to invest in a journalism model that means something to me personally. I encourage you to do the same. If an unrepentant Christianist (heh) theocon like me can find enough good stuff in Team Sully’s extraordinary daily output to justify the cost of a subscription, I bet you can too. I added a small tip to my subscription, as a thank-you for all the good reading over the years.

The subscription link is here — it’s very quick and easy. Good luck to the Dish crew on this adventure.