Digital Magazine News

Archive for Digital Magazine News

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Newspapers around the country have been in a steady decline over the past few years, a decline that arguably began with nightly news coverage as more and more households bought a television. In essence, a daily newspaper prints yesterday’s news, which is then read at the end of the work day, making it nearly two days old.

Internet news access–most of it free above the cost of internet service, which consumers pay for already–provides up-to-the-minute headline news literally at the readers fingertips, even if it isn’t always unbiased or wholly accurate.

But newspapers, especially the once-family owned papers, provided a valuable service that internet news rarely offers, and that is in-depth local coverage. Unless a particular incident is noteworthy enough to garner national coverage, it can be completely ignored by the media.

Digital newspapers, on the other hand, have the ability to revive not only the coverage that local newspapers once provided, but also to rejuvenate the true journalism that took place on the local events level. In looking back through the nation’s history, a lot of social good came out of local reporters uncovering the real story; that’s not a service that the public can take lightly.

According to an article for Bloomberg, Cerberus Capital Management LP has a plan in the motion to purchase Digital First Media Inc., which owns some regional news outlets like the San Jose Mercury News and the Denver Post. This deal would expand the digital reach of these papers and allow a broader audience of readers who have some form of tie to the region–former residents, or readers whose parents still live in Denver, for example–to continue to benefit from the serious journalism that takes place in those regions.

Once deals like this take place and broader digital publishing options open up for newspapers, digital newspaper and magazines subscription providers are able to step in with a quality, easy to use app that allows consumers to access a wide variety of content that they otherwise never would have found.

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The publishing industry has extolled the virtues of digital publishing–less waste, lower transport and delivery costs, a reduced carbon footprint–especially where periodicals are concerned, but there is more to delivering e-content in the form of newspapers and magazines than simply browsing through a magazine while you wait for the train.

New data on travel, specifically the numbers that pertain to business travel, may provide a correlation between the increase in individual trips and the steady increase in popularity of digital newspaper and magazine apps. Numbers from the Travel Industry Association of America indicate that:

  • 3% of business travelers travel outside of the U.S.
  • 47% of business travelers reported that their last trip was to attend a meeting, trade show, or convention, as opposed to other activities, such as consulting or making a sales call.
  • The average business trip lasts 3.3 nights.
  • 20% of business travelers report that they combined work and vacation on their last trip.
  • There were 43,900,000 individuals who traveled on business in 1998 — or one out of every five American adults.
  • The average business traveler is 42 years old.
  • 60% of business travelers are men.
  • The average business traveler takes 5.4 trips each year.
  • The average business traveler earns an annual salary of $76,100.
  • In the 1990’s, there were an average of 200,000,000 business trips taken per year.
  • With 25% of business travelers visiting the South Atlantic region of the U.S., it is the most common destination.

With so much travel taking place in far flung destinations when the individual is required to travel, one of the small comforts that airports and hotels have been able to offer is access to internet connectivity and digital magazines and newspapers. This allows the business traveler to connect to content and news from back home, rather than experience the sense of relief from getting away from it all, as when on vacation.

“With todays’ competitive hospitality industry, retention is usually a result of high guest satisfaction,” explains the logic behind digital amenities as offered by digital content app PressReader. “Value added guest amenities, like PressReader, give hoteliers an ideal solution to gain a competitive edge in the market resulting in higher guest satisfaction and repeat visits. With a library of over 2,000 same-day digital newspapers and magazines including the Washington Post, Elle Magazine, Business Traveler, The Globe and Mail and Le Monde, PressReader is a cost-effective luxury amenity that leisure and business travelers alike would appreciate.”

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One of the early adoption markets for tablet use, K12 digital textbooks, and a thriving e-commerce site to offer ebooks was India, but recent reports have shown somewhat stagnant responses, which experts have attributed to a lack of reliable wifi and internet connectivity throughout the country, as well as concerns about posting credit card information on unreliable digital infrastructure. But a new multi-billion dollar initiative from the Indian government in conjunction with a major telecom provider may change all that with the institution of free wifi in 2,500 cities across the country.

The Digital India project will create some 50,000 to 60,000 hotspots in various cities, and offer citizens data plans through telecom-provider BSNL. These data plans, which will function in much the same way that consumers currently subscribe to data plans, will offer the free data packages, with the option to purchase additional data each month after the free threshold has been reached.

According to an outline of the project, the goals include:

  • Broadband highways to connect all villages and cities of India
  • Everywhere mobile connectivity; wherein mobile coverage will be provided to every nook and corner of India
  • Public Internet Access Program wherein internet accessibility to the web will be provided at subsidized rates (example public WiFis)
  • eGovernance in every government department, wherein 100% paper-less environment will be encouraged
  • e-Kranti, wherein government services would be electronically delivered
    Information for All policy (which includes provisioning of Right to Information using the Internet as a medium)
  • Electronics manufacturing
  • IT for Jobs
  • Early harvest program

How does this affect the publishing industry? Nearly all sectors of publishing have seen lagging adoption–slower than predicted, at least–due to concerns of connectivity. While educational initiatives have put devices in place, retail websites like Flipkart and Amazon India have introduced easy ebook purchasing, and even major self-publishers have brought the platform to authors in India, the lack of internet connection has been blamed for disappointing results in publishing.

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Internet news devotees have had to become very selective about the articles they read due to the abundance of available content, which has led many to adopt dedicated digital platforms that only display news from sources they choose. Apps like PressReader and Newsbeat have stepped up to fill the gap, and offer customizable options for current news, including region-specific content and categorical selection. Digital newspapers and magazines have also grown in popularity, possibly in relation to the unreliable options flooding social media; OverDrive reported on its growth of digital content yesterday, citing the convenience of access to news through public library portals as a chief patron service.

One platform in particular, Press Reader, released a new video that explains its all-you-can-read digital news model, as well as its emergence as a leading provider of digital newspapers and magazines to the all-important library sector.

Press Reader bills itself to users as a premium content provider, meaning its not the same old headlines that are available scattered across news blogs. This has helped the crucial lending market make a trusted choice in subscribing for their patrons to access digital content.

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Well-lit vanity mirrors? Shower benches for leg shaving? Kinder lighting in the corridors? Why not?

Some critics of Virgin Group Ltd., the chain of entertainment and service industry offerings owned by billionaire Richard Branson, have scoffed at the corporation’s latest attempt to win over a key demographic with its new hospitality chain, Virgin Hotels. The luxury hotel chain is making a concerted effort to meet the needs of the growing numbers of female business travelers, but it’s not just makeup mirrors and smooth legs.

One key feature of this hotel chain is a divided room that allows the guest to accept deliveries like room service or luggage service through the main room door, while staying locked behind a second door with a peep hole. Corridor lighting has been enhanced to ensure that there are no dark corners for someone to lurk in. Of course, there are the less intimidating amenities like larger closets to accommodate business travelers’ suits and dresses, helping to ensure that the purpose of the trip comes off as stylishly as possible.

While some news sources have openly stated that female guests have no need of these extra features because “they’ve done okay without leg-shaving benches thus far,” Virgin’s founder sees it a little differently, considering the numbers of women who travel for business, not just for vacation.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Virgin determined early on that appealing to female business travelers was part of that approach. Company executives cited a 2011 report from the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University that highlighted the market opportunity: While females accounted for only a quarter of business travelers in 1991, they now comprise about half.”

It may seem gimmicky to some, but in a crowded hospitality industry, hotel chains are working overtime to meet the needs of guests in a way that make them stand out. Anyone can offer a bed, a bath, and a bagel in the lobby each morning, but companies are actively working to provide features that make travelers choose their accommodations based on features like wifi that remembers you from your last visit, free digital newspapers and magazines through apps like PressReader, the ability to read the news from “back home” while traveling, and more.

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When consumers and experts alike think of the travel industry, transportation giants usually come to mind. But what savvy industry watchers are learning is that transportation is only one small part of the equation. Accommodations providers are driving the real shift in the travel industry, and of those, it’s the smaller companies and startups that are generating actual change.

Accommodations used to refer to the hotel sector, and in some regards, the vacation rental side of business. But the booming privately owned homeshare concept is getting a lot of consumer attention and edging in on the market share for accommodations, largely due to digital and tech amenities that hotels and rental condos—and now homeshares—have to offer.

There’s been a shift in how the hospitality industry handles consumer engagement. With the move to things like mobile apps, online booking and check-in, and even a catalog of hundreds of titles to choose from for the typical guest newspaper that now appears seamlessly each morning on a guest’s mobile device, today’s traveler expects not only convenience and price, but a greater level of affordability and value thanks to the self-service, digital concepts.

A newly launched magazine that tracks the hospitality industry, Megatrends Shaping Travel In 2015 takes a closer look at how consumers are responding to what the travel and hospitality sectors have to offer in the digital age. One of the chief findings of the publication from Skift if that whole new levels of connectivity and convenience have become the norm. The days of cable-based ethernet connections in hotel rooms or paying a premium for in-room wifi are gone, even if not all hotel and rental chains have adapted. Travelers are no longer content with a complimentary print copy of USA Today thrown on the lobby desk in the morning, and instead of booking their stays with hotels that can offer local news, but also the news from back home while guests are away.

“As consumers become self-serve and mobile-dependent, new models and approaches to both customer relations and local discovery are emerging, and hospitality is the big crucible where all of this is playing out,” says Rafat Ali of Skift. “We see this at every touchpoint in the hospitality industry: From how hotels are building direct links to customers in digital, to how customer service is being rethought through social and mobile tools. Within the confines of a property we see this in how hotels are redoing lobbies and how customers check in, as well as everything about the customer experience inside a hotel room, entertainment inside the hotel, and food & beverage offerings, too. Brands are also questioning customer interaction pre-, during and post-trip, as they examine and rebuild it in new ways.”

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Magzter has been an anomaly in the digital magazine space, its primarily competitors have all been offering  unlimited magazines for a low monthly fee for quite sometime.  Instead of jumping into this space right away, Magzter has focused on securing more publishers to their platform and currently and developing their in-house tools to allow other companies to self-publish on Android and iOS. Today, Magzter is ready to jump into the whole Netflix for Magazines concept with the advent of of Magzter Gold.

Magzter currently has 5,000 digital magazine titles in their extensive library, but only 2,000 are available via their Gold subscription package.  The entry level cost is $9.99 a month to read them all, or you can opt into paying $4.99 per month for full access to 5 preferred titles.

Magzter Gold  will get you a number of notable publications, such as Maxim, ESPN The Magazine, and Fast Company, as well as many top magazines from different countries –  including the UK, Singapore, and India.

“It’s still early days for digital magazine reading,” said Girish Ramdas, CEO & Co-Founder of Magzter. “Barriers to entry, like paying for and managing multiple magazine subscriptions, have stalled true adoption. With Magzter Gold, we’re delivering a better experience, giving readers instant access to the largest collection of digital magazines anywhere, on any device, and for one low monthly price.”

This is a tough industry for Magzster to get into, as their primary competition Next Issue, PressReader and Zinio have been offering unlimited magazine subscriptions for a number of years.

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PressReader has updated their official Android app for support for their brand new hotspot mapping system. It basically allows you to ride a companies wireless internet connection to download free magazines and newspapers.

Pressreader markets their hotspot solution to hotels, cafes, corporations and retail stores. It basically allows anyone with a tablet or smartphone to download a magazines and newspapers from a library of more than 3,500 full-content publications from 100+ countries in 60+ languages.

You need to download the latest version of the PressReader app for Android from Google Play or the Good e-Reader App Store. Once you have reigstered an account just open up your tablet or smartphone in one of their designated WiFi zones called PressReader HotSpots for instant access to any newspaper or magazine. To find one near you, just open up the PressReader HotSpot Map from the app navigation menu.

Why do companies signup to give paid visitors or the general public access to free content? The main reason is because it brings people in the doors. Hotels often add this service has an amenity to the guests, instead of getting whatever local paper left outside your door, you can read anyone you want, including your own paper from whatever city you are originate from. A cafe may use it as a sirens call of allure to the business lunch crowd, that wants to be able to read  on their break.

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Hearst Magazines, the company behind Elle, Cosmopolitan, and Good House Keeping is planning on launching a new publication in 2016. President David Carey  made the bombshell announcement in his end of the year memo to employees.

“We hope to enlarge our print portfolio, through new joint ventures, spinoffs from existing titles and strategic acquisitions,” Carey wrote in the note.

Hearst Magazines has had success rolling out new print titles with launch partners, such as Food Network Magazine and HGTV Magazine, which are joint ventures with Scripps Networks Interactive.  The company also released Dr. Oz THE GOOD LIFE , piloted TrendingNY, a free-to-the-reader fashion, beauty and pop-culture magazine for millennial women, and reintroduced Town & Country Travel.

“Our goal is to launch another new title in early 2016, and we’re in conversation now with possible joint venture partners,” Carey added.

Hearst Magazines has had a tremendous year with their digital endeavors. They are in year two of their ambitious reset of their digital operations, with impressive results. One of the ways they are doing this is bringing all of their online properties managed by a custom CMS.

The publisher has also seen accelerated demand for their flagship publications, such as Cosmopolitan and Elle on the Apple Newsstand, Google Play Magazines and their international editions on Pressreader. Hearst has also seen modest success with their part ownership of Next Issue, which is seeing an influx of venture capital being poured into it, so facilitate further growth.

Hearst has also invested heavily in their editorial teams and the new centralized U.S. news operation, has driven impressive audience growth. In the U.S., monthly unique visitors have doubled, to 112 million, and social media followers have increased 90%, to 63 million.

I think part of the reason why the social media numbers are up, because of the robust sharing on sites like Facebook. I have noticed in the last few months a number of friends sharing links to articles of a sexual nature.  Most of them have heavily click baited titles, which leads me to believe Hearst is paying attention to what Buzzfeed is doing.

“Looking back, 2014 was a real roller coaster of a year for the media business,” Mr. Carey also noted. “Here at Hearst Magazines, we experienced a mix of both growth and turbulence.”

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Magzster is one of the largest digital magazine companies and it relies on publishers to effectively self-publish their content in order to distribute it on worldwide basis.  The company has just unveiled a new tool called MagEnhance.

MagEnhance easily integrate real interactivity into modern magazines, which includes rich text, videos, animation, links, slideshows, and more. It’s basically a drag-and-drop platform that requires no coding, so it’s accessible to anyone in a publisher’s organization.

This makes it a lot easier for publishers to optimize print content for the web. Plus, it’s free for any Magzter publisher, taking on Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite in terms of price and functionality.

The essence of this new platform is being able to get magazines to buy into the whole enhanced content scheme. In order to distribute the content properly, it basically has been turn into a dedicated app, which would likely shine on the Apple Newsstand, where media content tends to garner the most sales.

Here is how the enhanced magazine distribution system works. Publishers use the Magzster tools to create digital editions from the same template they use for print. All of the Magzster creation tools are free to  use, such as their MagEnhance and OREY Click Publishing System.  Once the apps are created, they can be distributed by Magzter to Apple Newsstand,  Google Play , Windows 8 devices, Nook and Amazon App Store. In exchange for the tools and distribution, publishers simply enter into a revenue share system which is currently 50/50, which is a huge stumbling block.

Magzster might make sense for small publishers, looking to digitize their content for release on many different app platforms. For medium and large sized publishers likely they are using their own in-house tools, or are paying over $2,875 a month for access to the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite Enterprise system.

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Dec
23

Celebrity Memoirs Have Peaked

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Celebrity tell all books and memoirs have often sold enough copies to make the entire endeavor profitable for all parties involved. Lately, a number of flops have occurred and this has put the entire publishing business on notice.

There is lots of finger pointing going on at Simon & Schuster over the recent flop of the Hillary Clinton book entitled Hard Choices. The former secretary of state received an advance of $14 million dollars, the second highest ever. Her book sold 161,000 copies in its first three weeks, according to Nielsen BookScan — but 85,000 of those were sold in the first week. That number has dropped sharply to 48,000 and 28,000 in the following weeks. Total, as of December the book only sold only 250,000 copies.

Charlie Redmayne, UK chief executive of HarperCollins UK has publicly proclaimed that his company is “moving away from big celebrity hit-and-miss stuff.”

Certain celebrities in the United Kingdom have enjoyed huge success – with Alex Ferguson’s tell-all book notching up nearly 700,000 sales so far this year. Roy Keane’s The Second Half, selling 149,000 copies, and Lynda Bellingham: There’s Something I’ve Been Dying To Tell You, selling 265,000 copies. But for every successful book there are many more flops and Mr Redmayne says he feels it’s now time to pull back.

Part of the reason why the company is scaling back from celebrity based memoirs is because HarperCollins lost £180 million from January to June. He said: “I felt the company had embraced some quite risky celebrity non-fiction. A lot of these books were hugely expensive and they were not necessarily going to back-list well.” He went on to say that “celebrity non-fiction market, in my opinion, has peaked. It’s still there, there’s still a market for it, but it is coming down.”

Penguin Random House is also starting question their willingness to publish celebrity books. The catalyst was likely one of their biggest flops with last years Pippa Middleton fiasco. The Duchess of Cambridge’s sister was said to have received a staggering £400,000 fee for the book in advance and sold only 2,000 copies in the first week.

One book industry insider said that the range of books on sale this year is not as strong as last year. “This year it is essentially a bunch of 30-something comedians all fighting over the same slice of the market. There is also not much to appeal to ladies,” he said, adding that the recession has pushed total book sales down by around 5% this year.

The Bookseller Magazine recently reported that sales of biographies and autobiographies had slumped four per cent in 2014. Publishers are mostly in agreement that they are scaling back their operations on books on celebrity culture both in the US and UK. This might be a good thing, as most of them are written by ghost writers anyways.

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A number of years ago when the iPad became popular, the digital magazine scene was bright and vibrant. A number of companies were leading the download charts and inclusive apps that gave you access to hundreds of publications became standard.  When Apple unveiled their Newsstand, companies started developing their own apps to offer unique experiences. Instead of relying on companies like Zinio for distribution, they decided to do it themselves. One of the last magazine companies still standing is PressReader and they just hit a major milestone.

PressReader has just announced that they have they have attained 1,000 magazines.  Condé Nast International France has joined PressReader, adding favorite titles – including Vanity Fair, Vogue, GQ and Glamour – to their growing list of  top publications like T3, Martha Stewart Living, Men’s Health, Inside Golf, Elle Italia and many more.

In terms of digital magazine distribution, PressReader does things a little bit differently than their competition. On the consumer level they sell a subscription package that gives customers access to over 3,500 newspapers and magazines from 100 countries in 80 different languages.  Instead of paying per issue, you can basically read and download as much as you want for a low monthly price. The company also leverages their portfolio directly to libraries, airlines, cruise ships and hotels.

Most of the digital players still in the game normally use proxy services when they market their treasure trove of content to libraries or other sectors. Zinio for example deals with Recorded Books to market their content to libraries, whereas Next Issue and Magzter simply focuses on consumers and not B2B.

I think the one thing PressReader has done really well is establish a strong branding message, no matter what space they are selling magazines and newspapers in. They do everything themselves, without having to lean on 3rd parties to do the marketing for them.

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The Maritime industry is not the first thing you would think of when the conversation of digital books and newspapers comes up. There are over 70,000 cruise, cargo, oil rigs and military vessels in operation globally. The vast majority of staff that keep these operations running properly are workers from the Philippines, Malaysia, Russia and India. Many of the corporations that bankroll everything are putting a new emphasis on crew welfare and retention by investing in digital.

Commercial vessels really need to keep their crew entertained so they don’t jump ship to the competition. Companies spend a lot of money training them and are heavily invested in keeping them happy. Sadly, in a world full of streaming movies and audio services, it doesn’t work when it comes to being entertained on the high seas. If the crew wants to download small bits of content they have to insure their parent company is dealing with satellite internet providers such as VSAT and IMTECH. Internet access is purchased in blocks, where ships have very specific limits on how much data is available. In order to download eBooks, magazines or newspapers they have to be accessed in off-peak hours, when the internet is more reliable and not congested. Satellite obviously, is not indicative to downloading lots of content and new companies are meeting the challenge with innovative solutions.

If you are a crewman on a military submarine or apart of the US Air Force, your options to access leisure content is severely hampered. Internet access is certainly not the norm, due to security concerns, which traditionally made reading eBooks unfeasible. This has prompted the US Navy and Air Face to partner with Findaway World for the NERD and Aero e-Readers. The devices are shipped out with hundreds of eBooks and audiobook titles. There is no USB port or wireless internet access, so they are about as locked down as you can get.

The US Navy also has established ties with Overdrive since 2007 for their Knowledge Online initiative. There is currently 400 titles, with heavy emphasis on foreign language and graphic novels. Foreign language learning audio books are consistently one of the highest circulating subjects in the Navy’s collection, and the addition of eBooks in more than 10 languages was highly anticipated. Popular graphic novels, such as “The Time Machine” from Stone Arch books, and best-selling “Dummies” books for investing, grant writing, and small business, are also available to download.

Vancouver based PressReader currently has a catalog of over 3,000 newspapers and magazines. They have developed a new offline system that will allow vessels to download content in non-peak hours and distribute it to smartphones and tablets via a shipwide WIFI network. Maritime companies are starting to select publications that are relevant to the nationalities of their workers and getting the top three or four titles from those countries. This would allow a boatswain from the Philippines to get free access to the Manila Times, UNO Magazine, and Daily Inquirer to read at their leisure. Providing perks like free newspapers and magazines gives workers and officers a taste of home, without having to spend any of their own money, its the corporate cash after all that pays for it.

Getting your staff to read safety guides, regulations, weather reports and orientation information is a trial and tribulation. The print editions are often destroyed in the heat and humidity or easily get lost. This has given digital distribution a new emphasis, and PressReader Offline supports the ability for companies to upload their documents in PDF form, to be downloaded to tablets and phones on-demand.

The entire commercial maritime industry and military is trying to take advantage of the digital revolution. Crew are normally aboard for months at a time and things can get rather tedious. Can you imagine if you had the same 100 song playlist on repeat for months at a time? No matter how cool it is, it gets redundant. This is why everyone is turning to e-Books, digital magazines and newspapers to break the tedium.

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