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Wednesday, 25th April 2012 Please login top-right to be able to star items

By Penny Crossland


Abstract:

Subscription-based news continues apace in Europe with Piano Media announcing plans for further growth. Elsewhere there are new schemes in the Benelux countries and Holland, and in Belgium an alternative initiative called Go Press. However, Google's One Pass subscription plan has now folded.


Item:

Continental Europe is forging ahead with solutions for subscription-based news access. Only days after reporting on Piano Media’s plans for expansion on the LiveWire, the company announced at the World Association of Newspaper digital media conference last week that it had secured further funding “to keep itself at the forefront of the paid-content industry”. According to the press release, a Cisco-backed growth fund has provided €2 million worth of investment, which will be spent on developing software and marketing campaigns, as well as hiring staff outside its native Slovakia.

As paidContent explains, Piano Media already acts as an access provider to more than 20 Slovakian and Slovenian publishers. However, news publishers are still keeping their options open. The content they place on the Piano Media site is only a small proportion of their news content. This of course may change as more publishers move to paid-for access.

There is plenty of competition when it comes to bundled news access, with a digital kiosk system being favoured by Benelux countries. My last LiveWire blog commented on plans for a Dutch news kiosk to be launched at the end of this year; a Belgian digital initiative with a twist called Go Press has already launched. According to paidContent, this kiosk is offering subscribers access to 32 replica editions of Belgian newspapers and magazines, no doubt with an eye on consumers preferring to read their news via tablets or eReaders – see this Livewire posting for similar news.

All these initiatives come at an opportune time since Google’s One Pass subscription plan for web-based news content, was culled in Google’s recent spring cleaning operation. Launched only a year ago as a more attractive alternative to Apple’s subscription plan – One Pass only took 10% of revenue from publishers as opposed to Apple’s 30% – it obviously did not have the take up that Google had hoped for. Google is promising to “continue working with publishers to build new tools”, however in Europe at least, the payment system market is getting quote crowded already.


 

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Penny Crossland is the owner of CH Business Research, a consultancy specialising in investigative research and market intelligence. Penny conducts research projects for clients from a variety of industry sectors, including financial services, management and security consultancy, FMCG, publishing and retail. Fluent in German, she also translates academic papers and corporate material.

Before establishing her business in 2001, Penny was Research Manager at OC&C Strategy Consultants in London. Penny graduated from Bristol University with a degree in German and Politics and has a Masters degree from London University in contemporary German Literature. She became interested in all aspects of business information through working for an industrial market research company in New York.

Penny can be reached at penny.crossland@freepint.com

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