Automattic has announced Newspack by WordPress.com, describing it as a “next-generation publishing platform” that's “aimed at small- and medium-sized news organizations.” The main site is accepting applications for charter participants, who will receive free service until January 2020. Beyond that point, “operating fees of between $1,000 per month and $2,000 per month will be applied to participating sites.”
Morten Rand-Hendriksen has some related thoughts on the “SaaSification of WordPress” and this announcement that are worth reading. Using WordPress as a SaaS platform to create many different catered and hosted experiences is one I have personally long advocated for, whenever given the chance, so I largely agree with Morten.
Civil and ConsenSys are part of this effort as well, coming from the blockchain ecosystem. CoinDesk is reporting that participating publishers will be able to opt-in to the Civil ecosystem, which is aiming to put some elements of publishing on the blockchain. I'm interested in this part of the project for sure, considering my call in September for WordPress to explore what integration with blockchain technology would look like.