The business platform for digital media

Piano holds Digital Strategies Workshop in Bogota

Feb 10, 2016
Kweli Washington listens to a question at the Piano Digital Strategies Workshop

Kweli Washington listens to a question at the Piano Digital Strategies Workshop

Bogota, Colombia, Feb. 10, 2016 – Almost 40 top Colombian digital news media executives attended a Piano workshop today on developing premium product strategies. The main focus of the workshop was showing the group how to approach and ask their audiences to pay for access to content on both desktop and mobile. In attendance were executives from top national Colombian news sites, specialized publications and top regional sites, including those from Medellin, Cali, Bucamaranga, Cartagena and other cities from the interior of the South American nation.

The executives gathered at the Bogota headquarters of the Colombian newspapers association, Andiarios, for an all-day session led by Piano’s Global Director, Talent & Culture Kweli Washington, who informed the group about global revenue trends in digital media and the need to develop alternatives to advertising-based revenue.

With these trends in mind, several Colombian publishers requested anonymous audience analyses to identify characteristics within their website audience consumption patterns with an eye to designing new commercial strategies tailored to the opportunities afforded in each case.

Kweli also talked about how declining CPMs, the spread of ad blocking software and successful subscription strategies have made it incumbent upon publishers to begin to, or re-evaluate alternatives to their digital business models, most of which are based entirely on advertising.

Later, Piano’s Latin American Sales Director, John Reichertz, addressed the gathering, stressing the need to urgently confront the challenge posed by the smartphone “revolution.” Just as the Internet drained revenue from print publishers’ coffers earlier in the decade, mobile is now undercutting existing digital business strategies, further impairing revenue streams.

According to Andiarios, Colombian publishers reported that about 50% of their overall digital traffic comes from smartphones, a percentage that is growing daily. Nevertheless, mobile traffic, like most mobile traffic worldwide, generates only a small fraction of overall digital revenue.

Reichertz also demonstrated the cutting-edge sales and marketing capabilities of Piano VX, the SaaS commerce-for-content platform and Composer, Piano’s sleek new drag and drop interface that lets publishers create tailored experiences for different audience segments and produce personalized offers to specific audience segments like mobile or search and social referral traffic.

Piano would like to thank all those who attended the workshop for their time.

The trouble with growth

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By Damaris Colhoun, Columbia Journalism Review

A VOLATILE MARKET, plunging tech stocks, and fears of a looming recession (or at least, a major correction) are sending jolts through the media world. Last week Bloomberg reported that in December The Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund had cut Snapchat’s holding by 2 percent—its second write down of Snapchat in three months—and that Yahoo had reduced its valuation of Tumblr by $230 million, amid cost-cutting plans of its own. Meanwhile, The Guardian News & Media, publisher of The Guardian, recently announced it’s looking to cut more than $70 million in costs over the next three years, after losing more than that in 2015—despite its vast of flows of traffic and digital growth.

For media start-ups running off the fumes of their VC investments, and legacy newsrooms making the move to digital, these stumbles are a crucial reminder that traffic alone won’t keep them out of the red. As digital ad sales soften, investing in other channels of revenue—be it  branded content, events, membership programs, or paywalls—will become increasingly important. These recent tech market tumbles also point to the trouble with growth: namely, that unless it generates revenue, it may not have much value. Not when investors are getting nervous and tech unicorns may be facing leaner times.

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Lessons in paid content II: The size of your audience

Feb 09, 2016

This is another in a series of articles from Piano’s Lead Data Scientist Roman Gavuliak that were written last year and are being re-posted here for the edification of our faithful readers.

Lessons in Paid Content I: Not all content is created equal
Lessons in Paid Content III: Don’t just slap a meter on it
To read all of Roman’s articles please click here.

If you ever look at your Google Analytics or get a report from a colleague, you might be familiar with the number of monthly unique users your title has. If you decide to monetize content on your site with something other than just plain old advertising, you might wonder how many users a paywall would reach. While there are users who pay for the convenience of never having to encounter a paywall, most people will have to be prompted to pay.

Imagine then your Google Analytics shows 2M monthly unique visitors; how many of them can you monetize? First though, factor in Google’s routine overestimation of unique visitors. Why? Because Google Analytics is oriented around visits and cookies for unique user identification, they do not identify unique browsers. Google isn’t really telling you the truth about unique users visiting your site because one user can visit on a variety of different browsers or devices. What this really means is Google Analytics is overestimating site visitors by up to 50%! Here’s an illustration:

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After correcting this overestimation, there are still at least 1M unique visitors, which is not that bad, right? Naturally it seems perfectly logical that for paid content to work, only those users who actually read articles are going to pay, right? No surprises here, but – make sure you are sitting down and take a deep breath because here it comes:

For most media, at least 50% of their users do not read any articles weekly or monthly! Keep reading

Algorithms, automated content optimisation are key to publisher competitiveness

Feb 08, 2016

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Chuck Blevins, the manager of new platform development and technology for the audience department at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in Atlanta writes about the importance of hitting your audience at the right time with the right content. Piano VX software has an algorithmic paywall function that helps monetize your most popular content at the right time, turning users into subscribers. Get in touch with us if you want to learn more:

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