August 11, 2015 Last Updated 2:17 pm

Paywall companies Tinypass, Piano Media merge to form Piano

The new firm will be led by Chief Executive Trevor Kaufman, previously CEO of Tinypass, with Kelly Leach, Piano Media’s former CEO, joining the board

A little bird told me in July that the two paywall companies Tinypass and Piano Media would merge, but Piano Media denied the rumor, or more accurately said they had nothing to share at the time. Well, we can make it official now, I guess, the two paywall companies will merge to form Piano.

piano-logoThe move comes at an interesting time for the paywall business. Though the total number of paywall strategies being implemented continues to increase, the number of properties loosing or taking down their paywalls is, as well.

I am still a big believer that financial and B2B websites can implement paywall strategies successfully, but remain doubtful about the value of the strategy for media properties that can not claim a financial advantage for their news and information they provide.

Here is the merger announcement for the two companies that will form Piano:

New York, NY – August 11, 2015 – Tinypass and Piano Media, two pioneers in content monetization and paywall software, announced a merger today to create Piano, a SaaS company specializing in advanced media business processes and online commerce optimization software. The new firm will be led by Chief Executive Trevor Kaufman, previously CEO of Tinypass. The deal reflects a global move by the media industry to paid models for digital content and the need for comprehensive monetization, intelligence and analytics tools to support these efforts.

piano-graphic“Digital media businesses are increasingly focused on monetizing their loyal users,” said Kaufman, “joining Tinypass with Piano Media to form Piano and globally standardizing on our new VX platform will provide publishers and media companies with the most effective and usable monetization and analytics tools available.”

Piano’s industry-leading VX software is based on a value exchange model that uses big data to segment audience and present user’s different monetization options based on their individual profiles. “It’s obvious to everyone in our industry that the display-advertising-only model for content is broken,” Kaufman said. “Combining Piano Media and Tinypass puts us in an incredible position, not only to continue to address the fundamental software challenges faced by the media business – like managing users, getting good data, and tracking entitlements across the web, apps, and traditional media – but to help them innovate entirely new models as well.”

In addition to providing media companies with the capacity to seamlessly implement a virtually limitless array of pay and subscription models, Piano offers advanced data and CRM capabilities to help content companies identify and segment their audience, enabling business models targeted to the individual user. Piano’s platform integrates easily alongside existing advertising solutions, allowing clients to optimize their mix of paid and ad-supported media.

Piano clients include NBC Universal, Time Inc., The McClatchy Company, The EW Scripps Company, The Postmedia Network Inc., News Corp. and IBT Media. Recent launches have included CNBC’s Pro, the premium OTT streams of the Tour de France, and Real Simple magazine. Additionally, more than 1,200 other news and media providers around the world, both Omni-channel and digital only, depend on Piano’s SaaS platform to manage their paid content and subscription offerings across the web, apps, and physical media.

Kelly Leach, Piano Media’s former CEO, who will be joining Piano’s board added, “Audience intelligence and optimization are critical elements of content monetization. By joining forces, the combined company is able to offer media companies the most comprehensive, effective and user-friendly platform in the industry. We look to forward this next chapter in our development.”

The deal follows several months of discussions between Tinypass and Piano Media and is effective immediately; terms and conditions were not disclosed.

Piano is headquartered at One World Trade Center in New York, with European offices in Slovakia, and a development office in Russia.

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