Nine major publishers in Slovenia are taking part in the paywall project

Credit: Image from Googe Maps

Slovenia is the second country to be launching a national paywall, following Slovakia which adopted a group model eight months ago.

The deal has been brokered and the paywall set up by Piano Media, which describes the model as being similar to cable TV in that customers can move between sites and competing publishers benefit from a joint deal.

Nine major Slovene publishers with 12 different brands and websites are participating in Piano's project, including the majority of Slovenia's major newspapers.

Slovenia's digital readers, using Piano's login and payment system, will spend  €1.99 (£1.63) per week, €4.89 (£4.02) per month or €48.90 (£40.20) per year to access content behind the wall.

The wall will go up a week today, on 16 January, and see Slovenia's biggest publisher place around 10 per cent of its content in the paid-for area.

This is an increase on Slovakia's biggest publisher which currently places 3 per cent of its content behind the wall.

Slovak publishers are making an increasing amount of articles paid-for, demonstrating the model's success, Piano's CEO, Tomas Bella, told

He was unable to release up-to-date revenue figures for Slovakia.

He added: "Some people ask why we are so conservative. For example, in Slovenia we want about 1 per cent of internet subscribers subscribing to Piano within one year.

"It's because we really want to start building in a way that has absolutely no impact on any other areas, so it's not like you would lose 5 per cent of the advertising revenue. This will be a new revenue for publishers without losing any revenue or any traffic."

In addition to launching the group paywall in Slovenia, Piano expects two or three more countries to follow suit and adopt its model during 2012.

"One of them should be a big country and one of them should be a western European country," Bella said.

There has been some interest from UK-based publishers but Bella is cautious about any rapid adoption as English being a world language is "an additional barrier".

"I think that when we have experience from two or three more countries, we will have a case that is strong enough to start serious talks with some British publishers as well."

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