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Piano Media, a Slovakia-based company which provides a metered-payment system, announces that they’ve released a new service called “Solo”. This new service will allow individual media publishers to customize the user interface and offer full control of user data.
In recent years, there has been a great deal of talk about the death of the newspaper business as people all over the world increasingly turn to the internet for news and to consume their content. Newspapers, television stations, and radio stations have been forced to adapt to changing times and to change their business models in order to stay relevant. Establishing paywalls has been one way in which they’ve tried to monetize the content that they provide, but few succeeded and even Financial Times’s paywall is patchy.
Piano Media has attempted to resolve this dilemma by creating both the “National” and “Solo” metered-payment systems. Piano made its name first with the National service, which allows groups of publishers by country or industry to go behind a paywall. Based on this model, the user can access a number of sites for the same flat fee. Now, having acquired technology from Austrian firm Novosense, they’re introducing a single-site option.
According to materials provided by the company, Piano Media was created jointly by Slovakian CMS-provider Monogram, pay-per-click network Etarget, and new-media consulting firm NextBig. We’re told that they don’t release financial figures, but their listed investor is 3TS Capital Partners, which maintains offices in a number of CEE countries and which was part of a 2 million euro Series B round for Piano last April. This funding came after Piano secured seed-funding to the tune of 300,000 euro in 2011. I spoke with David Brauchli, Chief Communications Officer for Piano Media and he told me that the service has been used by over 120,000 people in the countries in which Piano operates. Notable customers include publishers like the Polish Gazeta Wyborcza, Slovakian SME, and Polish Gazeta Olsztynska. Having established themselves in central Europe, we’re told that Piano Media is in negotiations with publishers in Italy, Ireland, Belgium, Spain, and Portugal and that they have already moved to enter the markets of the U.K., Germany, and Scandinavia.
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