Magzter, the Future Zinio of Digital Magazine Publishing?By
Magzter is the culmination of the joint efforts of Indian tech entrepreneurs Girish Ramdas and Vijay Radhakrishnan, and while it may be a relatively a new kid on the world digital publishing block, it is already aiming for the sky. The company is setting its sights on being the world’s biggest digital magazine store catering to the booming tablet market, but has also dropped hints about getting into the ebook business at a later stage.
However, the company’s immediate priority is consolidating the lead that it has built in the digital magazine scene. Towards this, the company has already initiated talks with publishers in the US, the world’s biggest consumer of digital content, and intends to bring them on board. While publishers are eager for a larger audience, Magzter’s 50-50 revenue sharing plan is the biggest stumbling block here. Magzter is asking for 50 percent of the subscription fees, which is far higher than the 30 percent cut off rate Apple asks for. Magzter is eager to trade some vital user statistics in return, which can be hard for the publishers to ignore. What Magzter is willing to divulge is not only how many users are actually reading which magazines, but also the email addresses of those who are reading. Magzter has also stated there are no hidden costs involved at any stage, even if the publishers add more pages or interactive multimedia content to their magazines.
Magzter also boasts of a new automatic magazine uploading system where publishers will just have to upload their magazine only once and the software will render the magazine into the formats of various devices in vogue. Publishers will only have to upload the PDF file (or any other suitable format) into the system and it will be with the subscribers within the next one hour. The entire process is automatic, the patent for which is still pending. This way, users will get to enjoy the favorite magazine no matter if it’s on an iPad or Android tablet.
Magzter is also working on an app that will allow the magazines to be read on an iPhone or any other smartphone. The company has already started operating with national Geographic towards this and efforts are on to reformat the print version to suit the smaller display of the smartphones.
Coming to ads, one advantage the publishers have while working with Magzter is that they have the liberty to add advertisements in their digital versions regardless of whether such ads are present in the print versions or not. Readers can buy a product simply by clicking on the ad and are not required to log in to another site for this. Readers also have the liberty to share their subscriptions with their family or friends on up to 5 devices.
Magzter has also shown interest in having a presence in the ebook scene as well and has already worked with a few publishers to come up with what it calls “mag books.” These are longer versions of some special edition issues of the magazines. Also, Magzter is up against the likes of such established competitors like Apple, Google, or Zinio, though the obvious advantage with Magzter is that it has a pan world presence. Also, Magzter is device independent, which means magazines sourced from it can be read on any device, such as the iPad, Kindle Fire, and so forth. In contrast, the Apple newsstand only serves to the iPad and does not include titles from around the world. Interestingly, a vast majority of Magzter’s over 7 million subscribers are iPad owners.