Helping media businesses grow is our mission at FatChilli. We were proud to become a Google Publishing Partner in 2018 (and four years later join a narrow group of the certified partners). Our efforts were recognized and we have been able to help more publishers.
But we wanted to do more than increasing ad revenue for publishers. We wanted to help them become independent. We wanted to help them to create high-quality content profitably.
Therefore we didn’t think too long when an opportunity to help Dennik N develop REMP (Reader’s Engagement and Monetization Platform) came around. We met with the team and clicked immediately.
We are excited to share their story and announce becoming a REMP integration partner for publishers around the world.
The Uncertain Beginnings
The story of Denník N began 2014 with the acquisition of a 45% share in Denník SME by a financial group Penta Investments. At the time Denník SME was reporting on a political affair Gorila, which alleged corruption between Penta Investments and Slovak government.
Matúš Kostolný, then editor-in-chief at Denník SME, considered this “a threat to independent and free journalism” and handed in his resignation effective immediately. And he wasn’t alone. His 4 deputies Tomáš Bella, Lukáš Fila, Konštantín Čikovský, and Juraj Javorský along with 40 other members of staff resigned from Denník SME too.
They didn’t just quit though. They decided to start a new and independent newspaper Denník N (N for nezávislý, which translates to independent).
“We were scared to start a newspaper. We started small. We knew if we left the paper we used to work for, there would be no real independent newspaper in the country. We started with people who were ready to act very honestly and bravely. And then we realized there is a place for us.”
It was clear that support from readers will be crucial to the success of Denník N. Their goal was to generate most of their revenue from subscriptions. The subscription-based business model would allow them to always remain independent and honest with their readers.
Growing to 57.000 paying subscribers
Denník N was able to achieve their dream. By the end of July 2020, they have grown to 57.000 paying subscribers. For reference, Slovakia has a population of 5.4 million. Their strategy of writing long-form and in-depth articles which people would be willing to pay for is clearly working.
Technology has also played an important role in their growth. Since the early days, Denník N has been developing an internal set of tools that would help them grow the number of subscribers and increase revenue. These tools eventually became REMP.
Helping publishers become independent
Since independence was extremely important to Denník N (it’s in their name), they made REMP open source and shared it with the world. Helping other publishers grow their subscriber base as well.
The success of Denník N’s subscriber model along with the open-source nature of REMP have attracted worldwide attention. Including attention from Google. The Google Digital News Innovation Fund supported Denník N and the development of REMP. The grant meant they could refine the software so that other publishers could adopt it and transform their business model.
The DNI funding came around the time when we met with the Denník N team as well. We clicked instantly on shared values of independence and high-quality journalism.
For the past few months, we’ve been helping Denník N develop and improve REMP. This has resulted in FatChilli Media becoming one of the first integration partners of REMP globally.
“We receive requests from publishers all over the world to see how REMP can help them. Unfortunately, we can’t help all of them, because there are just too many publishers launching new reader revenue projects in 2020. Thanks to our partnership, these publishers can now turn to FatChilli Media as well.”
- Tomáš Bella, co-founder & Director of Denník N
We believe REMP will help publishers transform their business models. REMP can help by adding reader revenue to existing ad revenue.
Interested in how REMP can help you? Schedule a 30-minute demo call.
Sources and additional reading:
- Photo by Denník N - Tomáš Benedikovič
-  http://www.thedaily.sk/slovak-independent-media-on-its-knees-penta-takes-sme/
-  https://www.niemanlab.org/2017/05/these-slovak-journalists-quit-their-paper-and-built-an-independent-rival-with-23000-digital-subscribers/
-  https://dennikn.sk/1988041/list-vydavatela-ako-sa-darilo-denniku-n-v-druhom-stvrtroku/
-  https://newsinitiative.withgoogle.com/dnifund/insights/remp-dennik-n-creating-sustainable-models-independent-journalism/
-  https://www.journalism.co.uk/news/how-45-journalists-started-again-and-built-a-profitable-news-business-from-scratch-/s2/a719201/
-  https://www.stateofdigitalpublishing.com/digital-publishing/dennik-n-has-grown-digital-subscribers/