Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

UPDATED: 27. OCT 2016, AT 19:07

Piano loses its sound in Slovakia

The national paywall system ends, returning the power to publishers.

(Source: SME)

The era of Slovak subscribers receiving access to several media outlets after paying a single fee will end in late 2016. Piano Media will terminate its national paywall system after five years of operation, forcing publishers to find their own method of locking their premium content.

“Piano has been very successful at creating an understanding that content is worth paying for,” Stuart Ashford, general manager at Piano Media in Slovakia, told The Slovak Spectator. “We are stepping out of the subscription business and letting publishers work directly with their subscribers, while we focus on providing the best software.”

The end of Piano, however, will not bring significant changes to subscribers of media managed by the Petit Press publishing house, which also co-owns The Slovak Spectator.

Not suitable for Slovak market

One of the main disadvantages of such a national paywall is that publishers do not have full control over it, said Peter Mačinga, member of the board of directors of Petit Press.

This concerns the settings of the system, the communication with subscribers, the marketing activities, as well as the pricing. Another problem was low marketing flexibility and problems reaching agreements, adds Veronika Pizano, marketing director of the W Press publishing house, which produces the Týždeň weekly.

“It would make sense to keep the national paywall system if it was used by all relevant players in the market, who would impose a charge on premium content in similar way,” Mačinga told The Slovak Spectator.

This, however, is not true any more as currently only two publishing houses – Petit Press (with its flagship the Sme daily) and W Press (Týždeň), plus some internet websites – remain in the system.

“Slovakia is too small and a relatively conservative market to maintain the development of a national paywall,” Mačinga said, adding the Piano system has shown that a national paywall is not suitable for publishers and most media outlets prefer their own systems.

Piano grows, but mostly abroad

Piano Media launched its services in May 2011. After paying a fee, readers were granted access to the premium content of several big websites, including Sme.sk, Pravda.sk, Pluska.sk, HNonline.sk and eTrend.sk.

The rest of this article is premium content at Spectator.sk
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on Spectator.sk
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on Sme.sk and Korzar.sk

The processing of personal data is subject to our Privacy Policy and the Cookie Policy. Before submitting your e-mail address, please make sure to acquaint yourself with these documents.

Top stories

Vallo: I will face up to the people no matter what

The new Bratislava mayor has four broad priorities to accomplish.

Matúš Vallo discusses the municipal elections at the SME daily.

Slovakia has many skilful people. Students should meet them

The new project by the Pontis Foundation tries to motivate young people through stories of successful business people.

The presentation of This is 21 project

Fico sticks with his old-style politics

Only the former PM knows whether the inspiration for his latest stunt was the success of the For A Decent Slovakia-supported candidates in the municipal elections.

For a Decent Slovakia gatherings return to streets

Protests will be held in Bratislava, Košice, Prievidza, Poprad, and even Brussels.