Piano Media, online common payment platform for entire country

September 28, 2012 by  

Tomas Bella (picture by Brie Logsdon)

Tomas Bella, CEO Piano Media, Slovakia was one of the speakers during the INMA 2012 European conference in Hague, Netherlands. He was speaking about the experiences and insights from Piano – a common payment platform.

Piano Media has been running an online subscription payment system for more than a year in Slovakia for all publishers combined. Also in Slovenia for six months. Tomas shared some data and experiences and some of the typical behaviour of their customers; how they applied this information for their media partners benefit in Poland and how they will use it for further country launches.

Piano Media takes cable TV model as a role model: one login for the whole country, one flat fee for all the content. At the moment, 3 countries joined Piano: Slovakia, Slovenia and Poland. There are 30 media houses, 70 internet sites and few hundreds of online services.

The sites joining Piano have a common bar on the top of the page with no necessity to pay for each page separately. They learnt that payment system and technology are just one of the parts but the content is needed. Publishers should think beyond closing just articles. Instead of thinking in terms yes or no (whether to build a paywall or not) publishers should think in terms i.e. for how long they want to lock it, and what to lock.

Piano is very elastic. It allows to choose different models and different types of content publishers want to lock. It allows locking video, audio, even lets publishers personalise the website or prepare the ad-free only webpage for the users.

Content is king but… also the form and user experience matter.

So, how to choose the right content?
Content analysis is a methodology developed by Piano for each publisher seperately. It’s a process in which they determine sections and services of websites that could be directly monetized by Piano. They do it because they care about the publishers’ traffic. Choosing the content wise will not harm the traffic after the introduction of a paywall.

Analytics is another important part of the process. There were lots of analysis done to find out how much people on different markets are willing to pay for this service. The analytics allow the publishers not only to control the number of subscriptions, but also things like time of the day or month the subscription is most likely to be bought. All reading patterns of the users can be analysed as well.

Marketing is also crucial. It’s always easier to explain a problem in a group. Also common marketing of a service by many publisher may have a stronger impact on the market.

Piano is not done with its offer. They plan to introduce new models in the nearest future. Those will be:

  1. combined freemium + metered model
  2. custom solutions for individual publishers


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