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Piano: A look back at 2015 and what excites us for 2016

Jan 14, 2016
Industry trends

2015 will go down as an amazing year for Piano. We started the year as two companies in our highly competitive space, merged, and ended as one really strong company in our highly competitive space.

For Piano, 2015 was the year that magazine publishers decided to step up to the paid content table and ask their subscribers to pay.

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Time Inc. was the first of the big American publishers to start using our incredible VX platform, installing it on, of all magazines, Entertainment Weekly. They liked the versatility of the platform so much they quickly started using VX on their flagship publication, Time Magazine.

Hearst was another major American publisher that turned to Piano for software. Esquire, a men’s magazine that has published some of the most prolific and creative journalism and fiction over the past 100 years, is using VX to monetize their archive.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 11.15.53And Bonnier is using VX to capture data from Sport Diver, the official publication of PADI Diving Society.

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 As soon as magazine publishers see VX and are introduced to Composer, our revolutionary tool that enables them to build a rules-based subscription management system in hours without the help of their IT departments, they know that this is the future of the industry and clamoring to jump aboard.

And they aren’t wrong. Piano ended up 2015 with more than 1200 websites using our software in 19 countries. We have over 4B page views under management and are generating more than $30M in revenue annually.

We think that 2016 is going to be even better, the year of OTT streaming.

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We signed OTT client NBC Sports who used VX to monetize their streaming subscriptions for the 2015 Tour de France with NBC taking home the maillot jaune!

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Another OTT client was AmericaTV from Peru. How would South American broadcaster drive subscription revenue? Well, they asked us the same question and we showed them some very convincing information from our data warehouse that has more than four years of accumulated media user data. Now AmericaTV is one of our fastest growing clients, adding subscribers and growing revenue that will help them develop new programming and keep their audience informed well into the foreseeable future.

What keeps media companies beating on our door? Some of it is our software and some of it is our team, led by a super focused CEO, Trevor Kaufman who has extraordinary vision; values beauty and talent and refuses to settle for anything less than the absolute best.

Our software reflects his vision with beautiful, intuitive dashboards that let our clients easily understand their data and take market actions quickly and simply. We are also finishing products that will be best-in-class, like AI that will give  publishers the data they need and focus insights in the two areas most valuable to our clients’ business: loyalty and advertising. We are reinventing the data consumption experience with new key metrics, layers in context and results presented in intelligent, novel and beautiful ways.

We are building a world-class software team on two continents in four cities. Our AI team based in Bratislava, Slovakia is creating business intelligence software for our international customers with the best and brightest data scientists, analysts and coders that can be found; our VX development team in Izhevsk, Russia is focused on building Composer so anyone can monetize content with a bespoke system; our design team is in Los Angeles and our Product team is in New York City. We benefit from our great diversity in experience and culture and we cross-pollinate with bi-monthly company-wide meetings.

We are 110 people strong and growing. It’s an amazing time to be in paid content, working on the best software in the world at one of the most amazing companies. We are really looking forward to 2016!

Industry Insights: Native Advertising Rules

The FTC released a “guide” that details how online publications should label native advertising in order to not confuse their readers. Naturally some publications took exception to the Federal Government telling them what to do, but in the UK, BuzzFeed fell afoul of the guidelines  and were reprimanded. Digital publications have a responsibility to clearly label advertising so they don’t generate fake CPMs; but there are production houses now creating such interesting native ads that  publishers can entice their readers into clicking without deception.

Read more about what publishers are discovering  in this week’s Industry Insights, available now!

Inside La Presse+ Decisive and Final Move to Digital

Jan 11, 2016
Industry trends

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In 2010, Management at the Montreal daily La Presse came to a conclusion: the traditional paper was doomed. The publishing group, created in 1884, enjoys a stable and patient shareholder, the Groupe Gesca, a subsidiary of the industrial conglomerate Power Corporation of Canada. They durably supported La Presse’s management, a team characterized by a mixture of vision, strong leadership and quiet resolve. Since January 1st, La Presse only relies on its tablet edition, “La Presse+”, and on its thick Saturday paper, typical of the North American market with its 10 sections enjoyed around households every weekend.

Continue reading…

Industry Insights: 2016 Prognostications

Jan 07, 2016
Industry trends

Winding back up from the holiday season, the industry press speculates about what will happen in the upcoming year. Naturally ad blocking takes up a lot of space with emphasis shifting from confrontation to acceptance and solutions. Distribution platforms are another hot topic as is interpreting audience metrics. From Piano, we wish everyone a successful and enjoyable 2016.

Read more about what publishers are discovering  in this week’s Piano’s Industry Insights, available now!

Industry Insights: ad blocking dominates publishers’ thinking

Dec 17, 2015
Industry trends

This time of year is given over to extended looks about what worked in the the last 12 months and speculation about what will be trendy or happening in the next 12. This year’s issues that stand out from our perspective are: ad blocking, quality content, OTT, user engagement and the remaining relevance of print. This week’s story selections represent those topics with none dominant. And, by the way, Happy Holidays everyone!

Read more about what publishers are discovering  in this week’s Piano’s Industry Insights, available now!