Digital Magazine News

Archive for Digital Magazine News

newspapers
First there was Paper.li, an app that allows users to create a digital “newspaper” based on the story links their social media connections share. Then came Facebook’s Paper app, which serves as a curated offering of a user’s shares from contacts. But now, The Guardian is rolling out an actual print newspaper that will contain stories curated from share algorithms.

The printed paper, which will only  be available in the UK once a month and mostly to corporate offices, is called #Open001 and will be based on computer searches for most shared content, kind of like heading to Yahoo News or Twitter and clicking on what’s trending.

While it might seem like a good idea to offer a paper that only contains the news that the public finds relevant, there are inherent flaws with a system like this for more widespread distribution. First, are social media contacts really the most trusted source for important information, or are readers really going to be wowed by a print paper that contains an unfathomable amount of news about Miley Cyrus’ latest antics? Does important news like the Arab Spring or the US Congress’ latest attacks on minorities and the poor, for example, really have the power to compete with Justin Bieber’s mug shot?

More important is the very real concern that this is a smoke and mirrors approach to keeping print newspapers alive and well. As more and more long-standing newspaper publishers shutter their doors due to lagging advertising and subscriptions, will sending out a print version of what users can see on Twitter be enough to revive an interest in the medium?

As with all areas of the publishing industry that are struggling to stay afloat, the key to survival rests in offering something different that can’t be had–often for free–from another source. A day-old piece of paper with yesterday’s trending headlines isn’t the way to keep readers’ interests.

newspapers
The Brooklyn Public Library system announced recently a new initiative to digitize backlist newspaper archives in order to make them available to the public via their online portal. This initiative, which will make all copies of the original Brooklyn newspaper, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, available, was supported by both grant funding and the loaning of microfiche from the Library of Congress.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle was a hometown paper in circulation from 1841 through 1955. As part of the BPL’s historic Brooklyn Collection and its digital newspaper portal Brooklyn Newsstand, this collection is made possible with help from Newspapers.com and several other sources.

According to an article for Library Journal by Gary Price, “The Brooklyn Newsstand will now provide the public with free access to the entire collection of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper ranging from the date of its publication in 1841 to its close in 1955. Previously, thanks to a 2001 National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS), BPL was able to digitize a microfilmed copy the Eagle from 1841 to 1902 and make those years searchable in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online database. As with the IMLS project, the second phase of digitization completed by Newspapers.com uses negative microfilm provided by the Library of Congress.”

Without digitization efforts, these newspapers–and thousands of others like it around the country–would sit in obscurity in a microfiche cabinet, possibly in an unused space of the library building. Now, these documents can have a renewed focus and offer new insights to a generation of readers that might not even be aware that the paper existed. More important, they can now be accessed by users around the world who otherwise would have been barred from physical access to the documents.

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Adobe has quietly dropped support for the newsstand aspects of the Amazon App Store and reading apps for the Kindle Fire. Publishers and developers using Adobe DPS will find that Adobe has removed the ability to create an in-app purchase experience and will affect hundreds of companies such as Conde Nast.

Adobe DPS is basically the system that hundreds of magazine and enhanced eBook companies use to sell and distribute content. Adobe has created a custom publishing solution that includes access to APIs for integration with back-end publishing services such as subscription management, print fulfillment, and dynamic rich media ad platforms. Publishers also have the ability to create custom viewers, unique HTML5 stores for in-application merchandising of content and services, dynamic serving of targeted, rich media advertising, and access to more in-depth analytic reports through tight integration with SiteCatalyst.

Adobe has released DPS30.1 and it only has support for native Android apps. This means ecosystems with custom SDK’s such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble will not allow publishers to utilize the system anymore. This will not affect existing apps, but any new apps that are being made.

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PressReader is the leading player in the digital newspaper space with thousands of international editions available on a all you can read basis. The company is not that well known in the magazine space, with only a few hundred in their portfolio. Today, PressReader has signed a deal with UK based Future to incorporate over 50 new titles into their library.

Future won Digital Publisher of the year in the UK for 2013 and has a number of great properties. Some of the most notable include PC Gamer, T3, and Edge Magazine, which have a massive subscriber base. By joining the PressReader network, Future will benefit from the additional international exposure through PressReader’s established global business channels that include over 15,000 hotels, libraries, airlines, airport lounges and cruise ships from around the world.

“We are excited to partner with such a well-respected international media brand as Future Publishing Limited and to be able to offer our readers an expanded collection of special interest content.” said Nikolay Malyarov, chief content officer for PressReader. “Because of our rapid expansion into new markets and business verticals, we are focused on diversifying our content and growing our selection of magazines and newspapers to attract a wider audience with a variety of interests.”

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Readly, which follows the successful subscription models of Spotify and Netflix, has made its all you-can-read magazine collection available in the UK.

For a monthly fee of £9.99, users in the UK now have unlimited access to over 3,500 magazines from some of the most popular publishers including IPC, DC Thomson, Time Out and Haymarket. Along with new titles, users can read one year of back issues and share the subscription with their household. The subscription allows access for up to five devices.

Readly can be downloaded on Android, iOS, Window 8 and Kindle Fire and is also available in the US and Sweden. Users have instant access from their device and can begin reading within 5 seconds of opening a title.

Readly is providing users the magazines they want, where they want it and is opening up new revenue streams for publishers. Its unique licensing agreement see what a user has read and divides the revenue between those publishers. The company is also providing publishers with valuable analytics on how customers are consuming their magazines.

The company is based in Sweden and is quickly rolling out its platform internationally. It hopes to add more european countries and publishers, while adding more features to its app.

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newspapers
Newspapers and magazines are struggling to keep their heads above water, not just due to the rise in tablet penetration that has made more consumers turn to their devices for reading material, but also thanks to the abundance of free information available all day long on search engines and websites. Tactics like lower cost subscriptions to digital editions, paywalls, and all-you-can-eat news content for a single price have lured a few customers back to some of the mainstays of the news industry, but the outlook still isn’t good.

One area where digital news services and apps have tried to market their services is the long-distance commuter, but those platforms only speak to commuters who take mass transit. A new app from Tribune Digital Ventures, however, will provide both iOS and Android users with audio editions of personalized news stories that they can access from their devices, a great feature for those commuters who have to do their own driving.

Newsbeat delivers users’ news via human and synthetic ” news anchors”as a playlist, allowing them to first download the information prior to leaving home in order to utilize their own wifi connections instead of their cellular data usage. To skip a story, users simply jump to the next item in the playlist in much the same way that they would skip a song. But the best feature might still be this level of personalization based on users’ preselected interests, which is a good thing considering Tribune offers over 7,000 articles every day.

“You can choose your category preferences, topics of interest, and preferred publications. You can also setup your home and work location and Newsbeat will bring you a mix of national and local stories tailored to your commute.”

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Digital publishing has enabled self-publishing to become an industry force to be reckoned with, especially where text-based ebooks are concerned. But a new tool from Appzine Machine has made it possible for anyone with a desire to share their content to create and monetize their material into a digital magazine, available in the the Apple App Store, in order to reach the estimated 170 million iPad users who spend up to two and a half hours a day reading digital content.

“Appzine Machine is the first all-in-one solution that combines easy-to-use magazine building tools and world-class training on how to publish and profit,” said Len Wright, CEO of Appzine Machine, in a press release. “It is a fully turn-key system to help you earn monthly income, build your authority, or advertise your business.”

While the price tag of the platform does mean that not just anyone will be able to afford to publish a digital magazine, the easy DIY drag-and-drop aspect of the tool can make it worthwhile. Taking into consideration what the cost would be to have a digital designer create the finished product and upload it through a monthly-fee service like Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, the savings can accumulate quickly. Ideally, there is also a return on the investment in the form of royalties, as Appzine doesn’t take further fees after the cost of using the tool.

“Digital magazines open up a new world of possibilities for both new entrepreneurs and existing businesses. By combining the compelling content of a magazine with the interactivity of a mobile app, you can spread your message, drive revenue, and reach a growing audience of millions worldwide.”

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Are consumers too busy to read?

In the ongoing experimentation from newspapers to adapt to a world of digital consumers while still making a profit, the New York Times has announced its newest option: abridged stories from its own publications, and other source around the internet, optimized for mobile device reading. Thanks to a new app, NYT Now, subscribers to the app’s content can access shorter versions of the paper’s full-length articles for a little more than half the cost of a full digital subscription.

This kind of service is perfect for people who want the level of content and slant of journalism that the Times is typically known for, but do not have the time to read full-length editions every day. This as-of-yet untapped level on consumer–the person who wishes he read more books or was more up-to-date on current events, but simply doesn’t have enough time to devote to this type of reading–is becoming a bigger focus among digital publishing platforms; last week, Rooster announced the March 11th launch of its “snippet” reading subscription that lets users consume serialized books at a fraction of the cost of full-size ebook subscriptions, again, optimized for smartphone reading.

While both the NYT Now app and Rooster have set their price points at approximately half of the cost of a typical subscription, in the case of the news app, it may not be far enough. The app still requires a fee of around $8 a month, a price point that people who are already strapped for time may not be willing to pay to scroll through partial articles when that same level of engagement can be had for free by browsing news sites online.

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Wargaming earned close to 219 million dollars in 2012 with its seminal World of Tanks franchise. The company has since expanded into World of Airplanes and World of Battleships. Customers gravitate towards this multi-player simulation because of its historical accuracy. The company is transcending gaming and launching a new digital magazine for iOS and Android.

The new digital magazine called Lets Battle will focus on the companies various properties and put a special emphasis on the history of military warfare. One of the cool aspects of Wargaming is that when they develop new tanks, they often send a team down to many different countries to actually drive it around and get a feel for the handling. Obviously the entire crew at Wargaming is big into military history and this magazine may have a wider appeal.

“We are always looking for new ways to engage gamers with the content and projects we are creating,” said Alexander Shilyaev, Director of Global Operations for Meta Games and Service Apps at Wargaming. “With the digital magazine, we’ll be able to provide more coverage than ever to our player community, creating and molding our publications to fit the needs of a tech-savvy generation of modern gamers and military enthusiasts worldwide.”

You can download the new Wargaming Magazine from the Good e-Reader App Store for Android.

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zite-app

Flipboard is currently one of the most popular online news reading apps and the company has been gaining massive traction over the past few years. In order to facilitate further growth the company has bought out one of their competitors, Zite.

Zite was formerly owned by CNN, who had paid $25 million for it back in 2011. CNN Money proclaimed that the buyout figure from Flipboard was to be in the neighbourhood of $60 million.

Flipboard founder Mike McCue said that the partnership with CNN will include all of CNN Digital’s content. We will also see the launch of heavily customized magazines created by a number of CNN personalities — including Fareed Zakaria, Jake Tapper and John King of CNN News. Those magazines are poised to go live later today.

Flipboard is also inking a new premium advertising partnership, “the kind of advertising you see in print magazines,” CNN’s head of digital KC Estenson said. CNN and Flipboard will be jointly selling ads for the CNN content. “We’ve been developing a healthy relationship.”

In the wake of Facebook launching their news reading app “Paper“, Flipboard has been ramping up its effort with publishing partners and advertisers. Flipboard has secured a new deal with Condé Nast to give titles such as Bon Appétit, Details, Glamour, Golf Digest, Vanity Fair and Vogue. Flipboard also has a great relationship with The New York Times, The Telegraph, Forbes, Esquire, Fast Company, Oprah, and Lonely Planet.

CNN is a victim of big media trying to run a news app. They simply could not innovate internally to make Zite a compelling enough service to give its serious rivals a run for their money. Flipboard puts the executioners axe to another competitor and is able to now harvest their original content to integrate it into their own service.

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ADOBE DPS
As device consumption among consumers continues to grow and more readers rely on their tablets and smartphones for digital reading, the number of available titles also continues to grow. What many consumers may not be aware of, however, is the power behind their digital magazines, newspapers, enhanced ebooks, and more: Adobe.

Known for its Digital Publishing Suite that is used by a variety of publishers to create digital content for device consumption, Adobe announced today that it’s merging the capabilities of DPS with another of its popular publishing tools, the Adobe Experience Manager. This combination will allow content developers to enjoy an even more streamlined workflow with an ease of use factor that reduce the need for graphic artists to generate all of the layout.

Adobe’s Lynly Schambers Lennox and Colin Fleming spoke with Good e-Reader about the implications of how this level of product integration can be a game changer for companies who are investigating or even currently utilizing Adobe’s tools for content publication.

“With these two solutions combined, we’re offering a really powerful multi-channel publishing solution for rapidly publishing content to mobile devices,” explained Schambers Lennox. “Adobe Experience Manager allows users to organize, create, and manage the delivery creative assets from a single location and push them out to website, mobile websites, email campaigns, social sites, and of course, mobile applications using Digital Publishing Suite.”

This integration will not only save time and money for the content developers as they work to reach their consumer audiences, but more importantly, companies using the combined workflow of DPS and Experience Manager can maintain a strong sense of unity within their brands and their materials. By simply moving content through both tools, that brand recognition can easily be kept consistent.

Of course, these tools and this integration of the features is not limited to digital publishers, but is easy enough to use that companies without a dedicated graphic art department can still produce eye-catching publications for their customers’ email, their apps, or mobile devices. Coupled with the added integration of Adobe Analytics through the Adobe Marketing Cloud, this new offering allows content developers to measure the impact of their publications in terms of user engagement.

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Digital magazine distribution is a growing business with players such as Zinio, PressReader, Magzster vying for market position. Readly is a growing force in Europe with a home base in Sweden and has now expanded into the UK for £9.99 per month.

Readly first setup shop in Sweden in 2012 and has released apps for Windows 8, iOS and Android. The move into the UK comes at an opportune time as the Professional Publishers Association state that digital magazines only account for 2% of the industry. These are figures that should rapidly accelerate with more players entering the market.

The United Kingdom initiative is being spearheaded by Ranj Begley who was the most logical choice for the job. She has an extensive network of contacts in the publishing industry and has spent the last month building a small team. She was the Client Services Director at Dovetail Fulfilment for eight years where she looked after major publishers and grew Dovetail’ client base by 60%. Readly basically hoped to leverage her connections and grow their business in the UK.

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zinio-and-recorded-books

Recorded Books started out in 1979, heavily investing themselves into the library space. They currently have a catalog of 13,500 audiobook titles that they market to libraries and retail customers. They also own a UK audiobook company which helps contribute further assets. Recently, the company was sold to Wasserstein & Co to help with the cash flow. Really, what this mean for the future of Zinio and Recorded Books?

Recorded Books helped digital magazine subscription service Zinio enter the library space. Zinio has really just focused on selling magazines directly to customers, but this is often a fickle business proposition. Recorded Books basically leveraged their existing base of library contacts to help market hundreds of magazines, in addition to their audiobooks and 100,000 eBooks, via the OneClickDigital platform.

The deal with Wasserstein was made to tap into a serious cashflow to help the company compete against Overdrive, 3M Cloud Library and Axis360. Recorded Books needed to refinance to expand their reach and help market their services. They sorely need it, as Overdrive has usurped their position in the marketplace by offering everything Recorded Books does, but providing a very slick UI and backend tools for libraries to manage and purchase collections.

In order for Recorded Books to be a viable business proposition going forward they will have to establish more relations with publishers to enhance their eBook catalog. During the last few months they got Random House as a partner and hope to woo the other publishers who deal with the competition. They also need to expand their distribution for movies and streaming video to market to libraries.

Recorded Books and key Zinio executives formed a relationship with IndieFlix, which is a subscription based video streaming service. It basically showcases documentaries and indie films, which is quite different from mainstream catalogs offered by Overdrive. Past and present employees of Zinio and Recorded Books sit on the board of directors at IndieFlix and hope to help their business grow and also get their videos into the Recorded Books platform.

Zinio is a company in a state of flux and the future looks uncertain. They used to do brisk business in the Apple App Store when the iPad originally came out. They remained in the top ten for a number of years until Apple launched their own Newsstand. Within a few years Amazon, Google, Apple, Rogers Media, Magzter and PressReader all started offering competitive digital magazine subscription platforms. Zinio has seen diminished market share because of this and now relies on Recorded Books to distribute their catalog of content to libraries and schools. In 2012, at the height of the downward trend, Zinio explored the option of selling itself, but decided to weather the storm.

Recorded Books in the near future will be able to offer libraries a very compelling package of content, that only Overdrive can match. They have audiobooks, eBooks and magazines. Video is the only thing they are missing, as well as a more intuitive set of tools that ties into libraries ILS systems. The much needed cash injection should keep them going into the near-future, but they really need to do some key things to stay profitable.