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Following global trends, Ukraine gets its first mass market media paywall

It will cost $2 a month and give access to curated content

With most news publications in Ukraine dependent on income from advertising or the generosity of investors, NV.ua has become one of the first major outlets in the country to launch a paywall.

The company publishes a weekly print magazine, Novoe Vremya, and runs a news website with more than 15 million monthly audience. Only two other online news publications in Ukraine have asked their readers to pay for content – Kyiv Post, Ukraine’s oldest English-language newspaper and Mind, a business-oriented outlet – but both focus on relatively niche, wealthier audience segments.

NV.ua’s paid content offer landing page

Paywalls, one of a small number of reader-based business models for online media, aim to make market players more sustainable and less dependent on advertising and investors. Proponents say this helps nurture editorial independence. 

NV.ua launched its paywall with a pop-up note from Vitaliy Sych, the publication’s editor-in-chief.  

 “Without reader support, we are limited by advertising funding, which has turned out to be insufficient to deliver quality content,” said Sych’s message. “Now our readers can contribute to the production of content worth reading. Just keep in mind – if you are getting anything for free, somebody else has already paid for it.” 

NV.ua’s Editor-in-chief Vitaliy Sych
Source: Radio NV YouTube channel

NV.ua’s readers will still have free access to a significant portion of the content, including the newswire, while selected in-depth articles will be placed behind the paywall. 

The paywalled content will include up to 20 stories a day — big special projects, investigative stories, editorial business rankings, expert opinion pieces and all content from the print magazine. Subscribers will also get a print subscription, a selection of daily newsletters, an advertisement-free website and an opportunity to share paywalled content with friends. 

The price of the first trial month is 1 UAH (less than 10 cents). Following the promotional period, the price will increase to 49 UAH (about $2), or, according to Sych, the “price of one cup of coffee.”

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