Paywall for Slovakian newspapers online makes set targets
THE concept of a paywall for newspapers in Slovakia has tentatively been declared a success.
Piano Media said it reached its initial subscription targets for a collective paywall across nine media outlets within two days of its launch in Slovakia.
Piano's Tomas Bella said unique visitors to most of the sites had increased since they started charging for access in April.
The company is now planning to roll out the scheme across other countries.
"We achieved our subscriber target within two days of launching the system," he said.
"People quickly understood the concept of cable TV-like subscription and it seems, at €2.90, we got the price right as well."
Subscribers pay either €2.90 per month or €29 a year for the service.
Overall the system has generated €40,000 in revenue since it was launched. While that is a low figure when taken in isolation, net income in Slovakia is much lower than western Europe. The average salary for the 2.5 million population is estimated at $22,000 (€15,266), more than 40pc below average income in Ireland.
Some 70pc of the revenue from the scheme goes to participating publishers, which include Slovakia's oldest daily 'Pravda', its leading broadsheet 'SME' and the business paper 'Hospodarske noviny'.
"We are already negotiating with publishers in five European countries and plan to launch Piano in a second country after Slovakia by the end of this year," said Mr Bella.