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Business case studies No 282 - 13.12.2019

Making listeners pay for radio content - an example of a successful podcast subscription strategy

Polish Agora Radio Group via its TOK FM radio brand manages to reach the growing number of users paying for its radio content.


Agora Radio Group’s portfolio includes several radio stations. TOK FM is a legacy news and talk radio station with 2.7 million listeners weekly on FM and 600,000 monthly online users. Their listeners - mostly urban and 30-49 years old, more men than women– are looking for information and in-depth knowledge. They are well educated, high earners with limited free time.

TOK FM offers them a variety of spoken content focused on commentary, interviews and analysis of politics, economics, psychology, education, health, technology and even philosophy. The station produces 10 hours of new, exclusive content every day and attracts very loyal listeners.

Making money from online audio

Monetising their audio portfolio online was a progressive journey. In 2014 Radio TOK FM developed their own mobile app, in 2015 introduced premium subscription packages for the website, offering access without ads. Results of this new approach showed that revenues from subscription sales grow very fast year on year, therefore the station has decided to invest more resources into this revenue model developing new strategies, pricing models, hiring new teams and improving the website and the app.

Subscription model

The live radio stream is free for listeners, both on the web (with 1 or 2 pre-roll ads) and on the mobile app (only display ads, no pre- or mid-roll). For podcasts there is a hard paywall on TOK FM mobile app (with a 2-week free trial), and a partial paywall on the web portal (access to the most popular podcasts is charged while other podcasts can be listened to for free, with pre-roll and display ads).

The subscription offer (always ad-free) is composed of different packages with a price range depending on the distribution channel (web, mobile or both) and the number of devices used. The packages vary in price from 2.4€ for web only access, to 4.6€/month for app + web access and 7€ for multi-access on several devices plus an RSS feed. Each package can be purchased for a specific period or with automatic renewal. Access in the mobile application itself costs 3.5€ per month – always with automatic renewal.

To promote this offer, TOK FM uses both its own linear and online channels with ads on radio, on the website, newsletters, social media and partnerships with other media. However, the overall marketing investment is not significant, the growth is mostly organic.

In terms of distribution, the podcasts are only available on the TOK FM website and app plus they have a promotional RSS feed that is available on other platform to attract listeners.


Within a few years of launching the subscription model, revenue from subscriptions exceeded the online advertising revenue and the number of paid subscriptions has progressed constantly since 2014. The consumption on mobile grows significantly year-on-year and the TOK FM Premium offer now has more than 17,000 subscribers – and this number is still growing.

Agora Radio Group experimented with other paid models including music but - given the uniqueness of the spoken content produced by the news and talk radio station – TOK FM’s model proved to be the most viable one.

“Once users become customers, they demand a high level of service and a reliable platform, so publishers need to be ready to meet their expectations” – says a TOK FM representative.




» TOK FM presentation at egta's Marketing & Sales meeting 2019 (click here)
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» TOK FM website (click here)

» egta publication on Podcast Monetisation (click here)


» egta Market Intelligence Meeting (TV & Radio)
30.01. 2020
Paris, France
Register here

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