Popbitch to launch paid-for online magazine

Showbiz gossip website magazine will feature contributions from The Power of Nightmares documentary-maker Adam Curtis

Popbitch, the showbiz gossip website, is to launch a paid-for online magazine that will feature contributions from The Power of Nightmares documentary-maker Adam Curtis.

The site, which is co-owned by Camilla Wright, will launch the paid-for app in May offering longer reads alongside Popbitch's trademark online celebrity gossip and weekly newsletter. Popbitch's app will be produced on either a monthly or twice monthly basis.

The new digital magazine will have creative input from Curtis, whose other polemical BBC documentaries include The Mayfair Set and The Century of the Self.

His first contribution is an online video, Popbitch: the next generation, made in collaboration with Brass Eye and South Park writer Jane Bussman, promoting the app and accompanying Kickstarter funding drive that launched on Tuesday and is seeking to raise £25,000 in the next month for creative projects. In return contributors will get various rewards including party invitations and membership of a founders club.

Wright is hoping the Kickstarter move will attract investment for specific editorial projects on top of seed investment she has already secured for the new digital magazine.

She said she expected consumers to pay about £1 or £2 for an issue of the app but that the price is still being discussed by her and her team, which includes Private Eye journalist Adam Macqueen.

The promo promises a "bigger bolder publication", for people who "love popular culture but might not trust the industry and the bullshit that goes with it".

Curtis is also part of the advisory, editorial and planning committee for the new paid-for venture.

Decisions about the content and look of the new magazine are still being thrashed out but it will be more international, more investigative and more in-depth, but with the same irreverent editorial attitude that Popbitch has become know for, Wright said. It will also have video content, and suggestions from Kickstarter donors are also expected to shape the creative direction of the new title.

"The idea is that everyone is moving to free but we are keen to go the other way," said Wright.

"To have good journalism you have to pay for it, it's as simple as that. Good longform journalism and proper investigations cannot be made for free. There is less money in journalism and we want to use the skills of people who are well trained and experienced and need outlets – both world-famous names and so-far unknown talents."

Wright said that the site would not be positioned in opposition to celebrities and the showbusiness industry, but added that it would not be seeking to cosy up to celebrities.

"Celebrities have increasingly come to influence our lives – just look at this week's press regulation talks – but employ so many publicists and lawyers it's not always easy to give an objective view of what they're up to.

"We aim to do this as we don't need access to celebrities and I suspect a lot of our writers will be working anonymously for us," she said. "We want something that is both really serious and really silly as well."

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Ben Dowell

The GuardianTramp

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