The Playwall

The Playwall is competing in the ‘Crack the paywall code’ battle of our Startups for News competition to be in with a chance to pitch at the GEN Summit 2018. They are the first payment solution for online content that is based on personal data as a currency. We asked them a few questions about their startup. If you would like to vote for The Playwall, you can do it here.

What did you do prior to launching The Playwall?

As founders of The Playwall we all worked (and still work part time) as journalists and digital content creators in the media industry. We contribute to the (digital) news departments of both national television and the national newspaper NRC Handelsblad on a weekly basis. We have a lot of passion for journalism and strive to contribute to innovation.

What problem are you trying to address for newsrooms?

Contemporary newsrooms and digital publishers are struggling to fund their platforms. Paying subscribers are scarce, online audiences aren’t loyal, the bounce rates on paid content are soaring, and most publishers know very little about their audience, which devalues their appeal to advertisers. Despite all this, publishers keep pushing traditional payment solutions such as paywalls or paid subscriptions. An innovative solution is needed to make sure revenues in digital media start to rise again. This is why we say, instead of money, why not pay with information? Addressing the one thing everyone loves to talk about: themselves.

How are you attempting to solve the problems described above?

Everyone keeps saying data is the new gold, so why not start treating it as such. The Playwall offers media-users the option to pay for content simply by giving their opinion. They answer a short set of questions about themselves and then instantly get access to the content. This innovation benefits both readers and publishers, because newsrooms suddenly have a quick and interactive opportunity to collect data and thus get incredibly personal insights into their audience. And most importantly, we collect it in a transparent way.

Data — The questions being asked can vary from ‘What is your favorite supermarket?’ to ‘On a scale from 1–10, how anxious are you about terrorist attacks?’. The data gathered via The Playwall is analysed, stored securely, and anonymously sent back to the media publisher. There it can be used in a variety of ways: to enrich customer profiles, optimise branded content, increase audience engagement, have more insights in what type of personalised content the audience wants, or simply make better deals with advertisers.

Privacy — The Playwall cares about the privacy of their users a lot. Hence the total design of our tool complies with the EU’s upcoming GDPR privacy rules. For example questions on sensitive information such as social security number, address etcetera won’t be found within a Playwall. Also users can choose to recall their personal information at any time. The Playwall is therefore a perfect alternative to traditional data collecting tools that are not in accordance with the upcoming GDPR.

Design — Our team has designed The Playwall in such a way that digital publishers can create their own set of questions within a Playwall. Our tool offers a variety of interactive formats that are specifically designed for optimal use on web, app, or mobile. We are furthermore developing new formats that can be easily implemented in video-content or podcasts.

What sets you apart from your competitors? List three elements.

  • At this moment, there isn’t an alternative revenue model like The Playwall. We give publishers the creative freedom to ask what’s actually relevant to them. So the amount of valuable data about your actual audience will increase tremendously.
  • There are a lot of data-collecting tools, but none of them are as transparent and interactive as The Playwall. Our tool treats audiences with the respect they deserve. Our own research concludes that it’s this transparency and openness, that motivates users to pay with The Playwall. Hence they share a lot more detailed information than they would otherwise.
  • We have done research about which design works most efficiently when it comes to collecting personal data. With those results we have developed an intuitive, user-friendly, and responsive tool that lets users ‘play’ and share their data by just a few simple clicks, swipes, or taps.

What is your business model?

We are a B2B SaaS solution. The Playwall offers volume-based monthly subscriptions with additional upgrades in both the tool and our personal service.

What are your next steps?

The upcoming months we are solely investing in the R&D of our tool. In the meantime we are generating leads and making sure our prototype can be implemented within the existing CMS of our launching customers. From thereon testing and further development can take place.

If you would like to vote for The Playwall, you can do it here. You can also contact The Playwall to ask further questions here.