The business platform for digital media

The Content Monetization Conversion Funnel

Mar 29, 2016

This is another article from Piano’s Lead Data Scientist Roman Gavuliak written last year and re-posted here for the edification of our faithful readers. To read all of Roman’s articles please click here.

Everyone knows that almost all news is freely available, even community news that had been previously monopolized by the local paper. That said, there are still a lot of people who are willing to pay for your news. Why? Because you have built your brand and gained the trust of your community based on your judgment in hiring reporters who care about reporting the local news well, covering local teams properly and having an editorial voice that speaks to the range of issues your readers care about.

After initial growth though, digital subscriptions seem to stagnate; our data shows that almost 40% of publications experience flat or declining digital subscriber rates. The question is why and what to do about it? It is important to examine and understand the impediments loyal customers have when converting from print into digital subscribers. Only after understanding and correcting these will subscriptions start to grow and recurring revenue flow. Keep reading

Industry Insights: Will distributed content kill the ad-driven revenue model?

Mar 24, 2016
Industry Insights

Industry Trend of the Week

Distributed content is still hot. Apple News, Facebook’s Instant Articles and Google’s AMP are driving traffic, revenue and subscriptions. Libération’s CTO talks about how his company is benefiting from distribution on Facebook; NowThis killed their homepage and is using different platforms to target different audience segments; and the Washington Post’s MD for digital explains why the paper distributes everything to Instant Articles. Could distributed content be the final stake in the heart of the ad-driven revenue model?

Story of the Week

Are We at a Tipping Point Against the Dominance of Ad-Supported Journalism?
A year ago, the media industry thought it had finally made it out of the woods with digital advertising revenue steadily increasing. Fast forward a year and it turns out the celebration was premature – digital ads do not generate enough revenue so publishers are again looking to their users for subscription revenue. Fortunately audience segmentation tools that let publishers offer tailored user experiences, like Piano’s VX, are going a long way towards driving increased subscription revenue.

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Are We at a Tipping Point Against the Dominance of Ad-Supported Journalism?

Mar 23, 2016
Industry trends

by Hampton Stephens, Mediashift

A year ago, after two decades of morale-sapping uncertainty about the viability of its business model, the journalism industry was feeling optimistic. Late 2014 had seen a dramatic vote of confidence in its future, as several startup digital publishers received lavish investment from both venture capitalists and large media companies.

“Big money is beginning to wash over the media landscape,” the Wall Street Journal reported in January 2015.

Reports of these developments hopefully suggested that the difficult economic puzzle of digital-age journalism had been finally solved, and that new innovations like native advertising would sweep away old notions about how journalism was done and financed. Coverage of advertising-supported new media juggernauts like BuzzFeed, Business Insider, Vice and Vox was ubiquitous.

Comparing BuzzFeed’s native advertising model to financing journalism with display ads, technology analyst Ben Thompson was almost giddy in his belief that the future of journalism had arrived. “BuzzFeed’s writers simply need to write stories that people find important enough to share; the learning that results is how they make money,” Thompson wrote. “The incentives are perfectly aligned.”

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Data-driven product pricing for digital subscriptions

This is another article from Piano’s Lead Data Scientist Roman Gavuliak written last year and re-posted here for the edification of our faithful readers. To read all of Roman’s articles please click here.

Digital pricing is not usually coupled to the cost of production. In fact, digital pricing, like that of luxury brands, is based upon perceived value. Why would people pay for the New York Times online when news and information is freely available on the Internet? Because people believe when they purchase a NYT subscription they are getting a better product, with unique, distinctive content plus they value the paper’s editorial curation. So how does this apply to online publishers who are not the New York Times?

Two words: Quality Content

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Industry Insights: Apple ups ante in distributed content fray

Mar 17, 2016
Industry Insights

Industry Trend of the Week
Apple upped the ante this week, announcing they would let almost anyone publish via RSS feed into their Apple News app. The company hopes that the exponential increase in content will drive advertising revenue and diversify its income from just hardware and software. With Google introducing AMP and Facebook also allowing any news organization to publish directly to Instant Articles, the distributed platform game has gotten really interesting. Will the homepage even be necessary in five years?

Story of the Week
At The Dallas Morning News, becoming truly digital means starting over
The DMN was stuck in the ’90s and they knew it, so they brought in consultants, broke into teams and dissected the newspaper from top to bottom to discover what they would need to do to get the paper into the digital era. The result should be pretty remarkable as the paper prepares to re-launch itself while still producing a daily product. Keep reading