The business platform for digital media

Google launching AMP at the end of February

Jan 19, 2016
Industry trends

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 09.40.02

Frederic Filloux at the Monday Note writes this week about Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP); how it will take a chunk out of both Apple’s and Facebook’s walled Gardens and how it incorporates with paid content. Google expects the system to have rapid take-up among publishers and will spread even more quickly as as specifications for more mobile components become available.

For revenue streams with AMP, most ad servers will work although Google will constrain the formats allowed in AMP. Paid content will also be incorporated into AMP, Google is working with both publishers and paywall providers to make sure that the most popular E-commerce system, the meter, will function properly. This project enables users to have a better mobile browsing experience while making sure that publishers retain their revenue from their engaged users.

You can read Filloux’s entire article here.

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.

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 19.46.57
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.

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 15.30.54

 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.


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!

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 15.36.23
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!

Setting Up a Metered Paywall I: Estimation

Oct 07, 2015

This series of three articles that Piano’s Lead Data Scientist Roman Gavuliak wrote in 2014 and is being reposted for the edification of Piano’s current clients and readership.

Setting up a metered paywall II: Data Sources
Setting up a metered paywall III: Time Period
To read all of Roman’s articles please click here

A metered paywall is one of the most popular options to monetize media website content. The notion seems simple: users can read a predetermined number of articles for free before being asked to pay for more access. Usually only regular users will be impacted; those who visit occasionally will probably never reach their pageview limit.

Where to set the meter limit?

Setting the meter limit is literally the million dollar question. Further, any kind of limit needs to be tied to a particular time period, so instead of one question, there are two:

1. How many free articles?

2. How often should the meter refresh? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?

Choosing the limit

Setting the limit too low means users will reduce their engagement, search for information elsewhere or simply leave. On the other hand, setting the limit too high results in little to no conversion. Naturally limits can be adjusted, but doing so might both confuse users as well as discourage others from implementing a metered paywall. Keep reading

Tinypass & Time Inc.

Jun 02, 2015

As noted by Digiday, and a whole host of other outlets last week, Time Inc., the world’s largest magazine publisher, has selected Tinypass to help power sophisticated paywall implementations across its portfolio of titles. The first title to introduce a paywall on its site is Entertainment Weekly.

Using our enterprise platform, Tinypass VX, Time Inc. has taken a tiered approach to gating access to the site. After 10 free article views over the course of 30 days visitors who wish to continue viewing content on the site are asked to register in order to unlock additional free article views – see below.

This registration layer to the meter is incredibly valuable as a subset of previously anonymous visitors, of which there are tens of millions to each month, now have a mechanism by which to identify themselves in return for additional access to the brand’s site. By studying the habits of its most loyal visitors, Entertainment Weekly can begin to understand what they value most about its site and content.

Beyond the registration portion of the metered experience, Tinypass VX presents site visitors with three paid options – see below – including a package that contains the print magazine as part of the offering. The approach that has taken to gating access to its site is just one of a variety of models that Tinypass VX supports.

Other Time Inc. titles have the flexibility of testing and deploying access models that best align with their audience and content. Cognizant of the fact that advertising is an important component of our publishing partners’ business models, Tinypass VX was configured to not count search and social media traffic against the free 15 articles that Entertainment Weekly currently offers, thus helping maintain the site’s reach.

If you like what you see from Tinypass and Entertainment Weekly, drop us a line at to learn more.