Slovenia media launch online paywall to boost revenues
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Slovenia media launch online paywall to boost revenues   | 17.01.2012.

LJUBLJANA, Jan 17 (Reuters) - A group of Slovenian newspapers launched an online premium-content payment service this week in an attempt to offset falling subscription and advertising revenues, media paywall provider Piano Media said on Tuesday.
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Slovenia is the second country to adopt the system, which will give clients access to a host of local newspapers and magazines for less than five euros a month. It was devised by Slovak company Piano Media and in use there since May last year.

"This will allow Slovenian readers to acquire access to some Slovenian online media by making a single payment or placing a single order," Tomaz Slibar of Piano Media told Reuters.

The system started operating this week but payment will only be required from January 30 with subscription rates set at 1.99 per week or 4.89 per month. Nine publishers with 12 magazines and newspapers are participating, including the country's leading daily Delo.

"We polled our users and ... they all agreed that content has a price and it completely made sense to them that if you prepare something special it cannot be free on the internet if you keep selling it in print," said Sonja Merljak-Zdovc, an editor at Delo.

Slovenia has some 1.3 million internet users, two thirds of the country's population, and about a half of them regularly go to news portals and online newspapers, where content until now has largely been free to access.

"Judging by experience elsewhere, primarily in developed markets, we see that fears of a sharp drop in online users are unnecessary,", Delo's chief executive Jurij Giacomelli said.

Piano Media said it is also in talks with publishers in 11 other countries and plans to launch the system in at least three more markets in 2012. (Reporting by Tina Smole; Writing by Marja Novak; Editing by Zoran Radosavljevic and Greg Mahlich)

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