Gazeta Wyborcza’s experiences with paid premium content

September 28, 2012 by  

Michal Gwiazdowski (picture by Brie Logsdon)

In a quick session of brainsnacks – the 7 minutes presentations at the INMA 2012 European conference in HagueMichal Gwiazdowski, digital Publishe from Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland spoke about Gazeta Wyborcza’s experiences with paid premium content.

Gazeta Wyborcza is one of the largest newspapers in Poland  with circulation of 300.000 copies a day. They have a decent online readership as well on the site

Wyborcza sells their content through many channels: Amazon, AppStore – they’re there, but the focus of this quick presentation was the online content and it’s paywalls.

The reason behind the decision to charge for www, was the fact that despite the ad spending growth in Poland in total, the display advertising is losing.

Main goals for the paywalls were:

  • change the mindset of people (educate the people they will have to pay for content)
  • gain experience
  • find new source of significant revenue (most important in the long terms)

Gazeta Wyborcza has got two different paywalls. The digital saturday edition  is put behind Wyborcza’s own paywall. They started it in May 2012 and are enjoying a stable growth (no numbers were given, but it’s in thousands).
Another paywall is the Piano system.  Gazeta Wyborcza and 40 other titles have a common paywall system in Poland. Piano is also growing. It is too early to release the numbers (started about a month ago) but they are serious enough for Wyborcza – actually they’re “exceeding the expectations” according to Michal Gwiazdowski.

Lessons learnt by Gazeta Wyborcza after implementing the paywalls:

  • be honest to readers, talk to them
  • analyse data, test, improve the product
  • design is crucial, good if it refers to the real newspaper
  • customer service is the key factor
  • people pay for brands and not only content
  • charge for unique, premium, useful content
  • don’t charge for general news
  • …let them pay, stupid! Gazeta Wyborcza didn’t do that for years, and now it’s working.


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