Newsweek to use paywall by Slovakia Piano Media to earn online revenue

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – A Slovakia-based company that offers paywall projects for media to earn revenue for access to their online sites has made its first foray into the U.S. with a deal to provide its services to Newsweek.

Piano Media said Wednesday its metering paywall system has been chosen by Newsweek’s owner IBT Media for the magazine, which is currently web-only. Piano will also process payments for the print version, which is due to relaunch Friday.

“We are excited to have our first customer outside Europe and we expect that both parties will learn significantly from each other,” said Peter Richards, Piano Media’s International Operations Director.

Newsweek had been struggling for years when The Washington Post Co. sold it for $1 plus debt in 2010 to stereo equipment magnate Sidney Harman, who died the following year. Before he died, Harman placed Newsweek into a joint venture with IAC/InterActiveCorp’s The Daily Beast website, a move intended to help widen its online audience.

Newsweek ceased print publication after nearly 80 years at the end of 2012. The online magazine was sold the following year to IBT, which owns online publications including International Business Times, Medical Daily and Latin Times, in August for an undisclosed sum.

Many magazines and newspapers have reduced or shut down their print editions in recent years because of weak demand from advertisers.

Starting in 2011, Piano has put major media in Slovakia, Slovenia and Poland behind a single paywall in each country while people pay a small one-time fee for unlimited access to a range of websites for premium content. Piano has also introduced metered paywalls for individual publishers. They have been used in Germany, Spain and other countries.