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Summary:

Piano Media, the online news payment system which first launched in Slovakia last year, says it made €26,000 ($33961.2/£21616.4) in its f…

Alpine lake in Bled, Slovenia
photo: Boris Stroujko

Piano Media, the online news payment system which first launched in Slovakia last year, says it made €26,000 ($33961.2/£21616.4) in its first month in Slovenia this year.

Users pay €4.90 ($6.4/£4.07) per month for access to new paid parts of all nine participating sites from the country’s main publishers.

So I calculate Piano has 5,306 paying customers in Slovenia. But Piano CEO TomáÅ¡ Bella tells paidContent: “53,00 customers is not the correct number since weekly and yearly subscriptions are also included in the 26,000 figure.

He did not specify actual consumer numbers. The company does say more than 25,000 Slovenians had pre-registered with Piano.

“Slovenian Piano publishers are earning more than €1,500 ($1959.3/£1247.1) per 100,000 users compared to just over €1,100 ($1436.82/£914.54) in Slovakia,” Bella. But that may be because Piano charges more in Slovenia than in Slovakia, where the monthly price recently raised from €2.90 ($3.79/£2.41) to €3.90. ($5.09/£3.24)

These numbers are small by many standards. Bella says critics would note that the countries’ internet populations are relatively small.

“If you consider that most websites were free one month earlier then these are really great results,” Bella says.

In Slovakia, Piano had made €40,000 ($52,248/£33,256) in its debut month. But Slovenia’s internet population is half the size of Slovakia’s.

Just as in Slovakia, where Piano now has 50 sites from 12 publishers, participating publishers put only a minority of their content in to the Piano system.

Piano’s Slovenian participants

NB. Zurnal did not yet sign.

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  1. Greg Golebiewski Thursday, March 15, 2012

    I was puzzled by Tomas Bella’s graphs (with no data on them; just lines) at the Paywall Strategies conference last month showing that the Piano paywalls do not affect negatively traffic. In fact, the lines were showing no impact whatsoever.

    These new numbers might explain why — the number of
    subscribers is miniscule and most parts of the sites behind the wall are available for free anyway. Is that right Tomas?

  2. Greg, thanks for the question, the graphs you saw were based on official audited numbers which are public, you can find them here: http://online.aimmonitor.sk.What the graphs were saying is that after 10 months, no media participating in Piano saw any drop in traffic numbers, and that is still true and easy to check.
    The amount of content that each publishers puts in varies from 3 % to 60 %, but the “no impact on traffic” is true for all of the sites, even the ones that put in the biggest portion of content. 

    Usually our strategy is to start on the level where publishers see no decrease of advertising revenues or traffic, and continuously grow from there; we would rather have significant revenues after 12 or 24 months than be too aggressive in the first month and risk that publishers would be hurt in some other measurements. But, of course, this depends on each publisher, how quickly they want to see results or how cautious they want to be in first few months.

  3. Greg Golebiewski @znakit Friday, March 16, 2012

    Thanks Tomas. The site is helpful

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