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MTH Unboxing: Snaque

The MTH Unboxing is a monthly format. One startup from the portfolio of the MediaTech Hub Accelerator will be presented in each issue. This time, you will learn more about the mediatech startup snaque.

On many platforms and news portals, paywalls are now well established. Large publishers rely on them just as much as small local newsrooms. In most cases, paywalls are directly linked to a subscription model, which makes it difficult for many users to get access to the content – regardless of whether they are not able or willing to pay for a subscription.

This is where Snaque, the startup from the MediaTech Hub Accelerator, comes into play. The Berlin-based start-up has developed the so-called “playwall”. With this playwall, readers can “unlock” premium content. In the current issue of the MTH Unboxing, the two founders, Katja Waldor and Henning Tillmann, explain the value of the playwall and how it works.

MTH Accelerator: What did you do before Snaque?

Snaque: Being an interdisciplinary team, we had both done something completely different: Henning had worked as a self-employed software developer and I was the managing director of a PR agency specialising in tech companies. So we complement each other perfectly.

MTH Accelerator: How did Snaque come to be founded?

Snaque: The idea for Snaque came to us after the first lockdown. The pandemic with all its conspiracy theories and misinformation showed how important it is to have free access to well-researched, valid information. On the other hand, it’s also very clear that there must be a fair remuneration for journalism. That’s when we came up with the idea of simply adding a playwall to conventional paywalls. The idea was to create an offer for thoss readers who don’t want or can’t afford all kinds of subscriptions. At the same time, we wanted to offer added value for the publishers and advertisers. Snaque wants to give publishers the opportunity to monetise more readers and reduce the often very high bounce rates at paywalls; advertisers, on the other hand, should get a chance with this new advertising format to interact directly with their target group.

MTH Accelerator: What is Snaque anyway?

Snaque: Snaque offers publishers a software that complements their traditional paywall by a “Snaque Playwall”. Our software’s “play to pay” approach enables publishers to monetise readers who normally bounce off paywalls. The Playwall widget offers image or video-based short surveys and mini-games sponsored by advertisers. After interacting with the brand’s content, readers receive customised offers of products and can activate the article. In turn, the advertiser pays for the activated article.

MTH Accelerator: What made you decide to apply for the Media Founders Programme? What did you hope to gain and what have you already been able to get out of participating in the programme?

Snaque: We had discovered the Media Founders Programme by chance in a trade publication and felt that the approach of financial support, network access and coaching perfectly reflected our situation at the time. We concentrated on developing the product and preparing the market entry during the first phase of the programme. So it was very useful to receive financial support and be able to ask questions and get advice. And the direct exchange with experts from the MTH Accelerator and coaches in the second phase helped us a lot.

MTH Accelerator: What is your mission?

Snaque: Our mission is to support quality journalism with the Snaque playwall, make it accessible for more people, and make advertising more interactive and entertaining with our new ad formats.

MTH Accelerator: And last but not least: what do you do when you just happen to be not working on Snaque?

Snaque: Henning is active in digital politics and a member of the advisory board for the federal government’s Digital Strategy. And, apart from that, he always has a guitar within easy reach. When it happens that I’m not working on Snaque, I am spending time in my allotment, enjoying a good video game or playing Lego with my son.

© Photo by Dominik Butzmann