A piece of music sounds normally sounds better when all the parts are played together. And Slovakian start-up Piano Media argues that, when it comes to paywalls, news publications are also better off when their strategies work in harmony.
Piano Media, founded in May 2011 by Tomáš Bella, former editor-in-chief of SME Online, the digital division of Slovakia's largest newspaper, has persuaded most of Slovakia's major media outlets to sign up to a single-payment system. This means that the country's major news sites share a paywall, and split the revenue between themselves - 40% goes to the news site where the reader bought his or her Piano subscription, 30% goes to the site where a reader is spending his or her time online and 30% goes to Piano Media itself. Its system makes the users' experiences easier by offering a simple pay plan and by reducing the feeling that readers are paying one company for content that they could get for free elsewhere.
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