Piano Media secures €2 million in funding

Online subscriptions system start-up Piano Media has scored 2 million in funding from private equity fund 3TS Capital Partners, TechCrunch reported.

The Bratislava-based firm is a platform that aggregates various online publishers in the test markets of Slovakia and Slovenia. Readers only pay for a single subscription fee and get access to all content on a national Piano site, a model similar to cable TV.

“Our 300,000 seed funding, raised in 2011, enabled us to launch in two countries and prove Piano’s model works. This deal represents the next step in Piano’s growth; helping speed our expansion, recruit top talent, ramp up our marketing, broaden our sales channels and keep improving our software,” Tomáš Bella, Piano’s CEO, said in a statement. 

“We are impressed with the depth and quality of the management team at Piano and believe that 3TS has the resources, skills and market experience to assist Piano in strengthening and expanding its unique market position,” added Jiří Beneš, partner at 3TS, who led the investment.

Piano Media was launched in May 2011, with nine major publishers in Slovakia. It took in €40,000 in its first month of operation within an online population of 2.5 million. Subscribers pay €3.90 per month (raised from €2.90 in March this year), press release explained. Earlier this year, Piano Media expanded to Slovenia, and made €26,000 in its debut month, according to paidContent. Subscribers in Slovenia pay €4.89 per month to access content from 20 participating publishers, encompassing more than 60 websites, according to a press release.

Payments are split between publications according to where a digital reader enrolls in the Piano system, how much time is spent on each publisher’s sites and the type of content consumed. This means the most-read publications receive more. Then, Piano Media keeps a commission of 30 percent, Bella said at the Guardian’s Changing Media Conference, and this payment system generates a revenue six times more compared to the individual system (publisher-specific).

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