Ex Apple VP backs payment platform Cleeng to break U.S.

Two European content payment platforms are advancing with news of an investment and a move in to video.

Netherlands-based Cleeng, which we have previously reported on and which facilitates payments through blog CMSes and other suites for outlets including La Tribune, Dailymotion and VentureBeat, is raising a €400,000 ($511,000) investment to try targeting U.S. business.

Amongst the backers is Pascal Cagni — until his resignation this May, Apple’s VP for Europe, Middle East, India and Asia — who says (via release):

“Through my 12 years leading Apple in Europe, I was uniquely positioned to monitor how the digital revolution can be disruptive and make monetization challenging. In the meantime, the proliferation of mobiles devices is on par with the acceleration of content digitalization and has broadened market reach in an unforeseen fashion. The opportunity to offer a simple, straightforward, robust solution to monetize content, being TV programs, videos, or live events is simply huge.”

Meanwhile, central European buffet payment facilitator Piano Media is trying a limited addition of paid video to its system that already charges users to access sections of several newspaper and magazine websites.

The video is from Zuzana Piussi, a Slovak filmmaker who could face two years in prison if convicted for her controversial film about the Slovak judiciary. Her latest film, about Slovak politics, is being distributed only via the Piano-powered paid part of weekly news magazine Týžde?’s website.

“The multiplex cinemas were against distributing the film after the controversy surrounding my last film,” Piussi says (via release). “Therefore, distributing the movie online, for me as the creator, is now the only way forward.”

Piano Media is better resourced than Cleeng for geographical expansion, having raised a €2 million second round in April. But Piano’s three launched countries so far — Slovakia, Slovenia and Poland — are all in Europe while Cleeng already appears to have ambitions of breaking in to the States.

Other Cleeng backers are unnamed private investors.