introduction of "Telephone Newspaper"
After inventing the telephone exchange in 1877, Hungarian Tivadar Puskás developed a “telephone news service” called Telefon-Hírmondó (Telephone Herald) in 1893. Using telephone technology, the company built a dedicated network of 1,100 miles of copper wires across Budapest. For the next 49 years, Telefon-Hírmondó delivered a daily schedule of spoken news, stock quotations, weather, and entertainment. There were no licenses or regulations on the service, so the service operated under a gentleman’s agreement with the government and police, who received a written copy of the day’s news before it aired.
By 1907 Telefon-Hírmondó had some 200 employees and served 15,000 well-to-do households in Budapest (population 800,000 at the time) as well as a number of establishments (cafes, doctors’ offices, etc.) with coin-operated, stand-alone phones. Subscriptions cost the equivalent of $16 per month in today’s dollars.
Much like modern content developers, Telefon-Hírmondó relied on income from advertising to reduce the cost of the network to end users. In a conversation with the Scientific American in 1907, the managing editor of Telefon-Hírmondó remarked that ads were “sandwiched between two particularly interesting items of news, and so commands special attention.”
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