Archive for the ‘Newsstand’ tag
Apps Foundry just announced that it has raised $2.42 million (S$3 million) in a Series B round of funding. The Indonesian company is registered and headquartered in Singapore, and this round of funding has come from Indonesia’s largest media group, Kompas Gramedia.
The company’s main product is a digital newsstand app called Scoop. This round of funding will go towards Apps Foundry’s expansion plans to the rest of the neighboring Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, said CEO, Willson Cuaca.
Kompas Gramedia owns a number of different publishing platforms covering print media, radio, TV and online sites in Indonesia. To be precise, its PR states that it has 26 newspapers, 80 magazines, seven book publishers, 23 radio stations, 103 bookstores, and nine TV stations. And 50 hotels. Phew.
One of its newspapers, Kompas Daily, has one of the largest circulations in the country, and prior to this funding round, Scoop had an exclusive arrangement with the newspaper. Kompas’ digital group director, Edi Taslim, said the app was attractive to the publisher because it’s already managed to get 90 percent of the country’s magazine publishers and 50 daily papers onboard. He added that 10,000 e-books from Kompas Gramedia’s seven publishers can be found on Scoop, and that the investment in the app maker was a strategic decision for the media giant in order for it to “stay on top of current trends” while minimizing the risk of undertaking the building of a similar app itself.
Newsstand apps are attractive to publishers because they allow them to get content to readers without having to strike individual content deals with device makers themselves.
Last year, a France-based digital newsstand app called Lekiosk raised $7.1 million in a Series B round. The app is touted as “Spotify for magazines”, and last month the company announced a deal with Asus to have the Lekiosk preloaded on its Android gadgets.
Cuaca told TechCrunch that this funding round for Apps Foundry will bring the company’s total funding to $3.4 million (S$4.3 million) since its launch in 2010. Its angel and seed round at the beginning came up to $257,939 (S$320,000), and was led by Indonesian accelerator, East Ventures.
David Carr stops short of saying that the American magazine business is headed for a dead cat bounce, but the recent numbers on newsstand sales are grim:
Like newspapers, magazines have been in a steady slide, but now, like newspapers, they seem to have reached the edge of the cliff. Last week, the Audit Bureau of Circulations reported that newsstand circulation in the first half of the year was down almost 10 percent. When 10 percent of your retail buyers depart over the course of a year, something fundamental is at work.
I talked to an executive at one of the big Manhattan publishers about the recent collapse at the newsstand and he said, “When the airplane suddenly drops 10,000 feet and it doesn’t crash, you still end up with your heart in your stomach. Those are very, very bad numbers.”
Historically, certain categories of magazine will encounter turbulence, but this time all categories were punished in the pileup. People was down 18.6 percent, and The New Yorker had a similar drop, declining by 17.4 percent. Vogue and Cosmopolitan were down in the midteens, and Time fell 31 percent. When Cat Fancy is down 23 percent at the newsstand, it seems that there’s little place to hide. Newsweek, it should be mentioned, was off only 9.7 percent at the newsstand, but that’s cold comfort.
It’s not just consumers who are playing hard to get: advertising is down 8.8 percent year to date over the same miserable period a year ago, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. With readership in such steep decline and advertising refusing to come back, magazines are in a downward spiral that not even their new digital initiatives can halt.
Carr closes with an anecdote about his recent recent doctor’s office visit, where a pile of magazines went unread, because all the patients were staring at their cell phones.
There will be something like magazines in the post-normal economy, once the internet has gobbled all media into its enormous maw and excretes it out as mobile. But the transformation will be so large scale that it’s hard to imagine the brands like Vogue, GQ, Newsweek or Cosmo with retain much value, if any.
Time Inc. is bringing its magazines to iOS’s Newsstand, YouTube begins rolling out an experimental redesign to some users, and Microsoft is rumored to be buying the business-based social network Yammer. More »
The dead tree publishing division of Time Warner announced this morning that its stable of magazines will now be available for subscriptions through Apple’s Newsstand.
But why did it take this long? Was it the debate over who gets subscriber data? Maybe it was over that 30 percent cut Apple gets? Who knows but it certainly took them long enough. Or maybe Time just realized they needed something to increase sales.
Having reached an agreement with Apple, Time Inc. on Thursday updated the App Store apps for its magazines to begin selling digital subscriptions through iTunes and the Newsstand feature of iOS.
After all the turmoil Yahoo has gone through in the past month, the company is finally making moves on a legitimate plan to consolidate its resources on a handful of successful products and services crucial to its bottom line.
“When we discontinue products, it will be so that we can focus on opportunities where we lead and where we can create the most meaningful experiences for people using our products, and for our partners, developers and advertisers,” Yahoo stated in a blog post. “One of the first decisions we’ve made along these lines is to discontinue our personalized digital newsstand app, Livestand for iPad.”
Livestand was facing plenty of more popular competitors, such as Flipboard, Editions by AOL, Pulse News, Zite, and Google Currents. But even in a crowded market, Yahoo didn’t need to be focusing its efforts on side projects like this. The company said it still plans to focus on creating a more mobile web-friendly experience for its existing products. As we said at the beginning of the year, Yahoo can start by revamping Flickr.
It’s nice to see new CEO Ross Levinson actually doing something to lessen the company’s glut of useless services and products. But the work is far from over.
Fortunately, we’ve comprised a list of 10 products Yahoo needs to immediately shut down. (Well, it’s actually only a list of nine, since Livestand is now dead.)
You hear often about mainstream media publishers designing a digital version of a print publication for mobile devices such as the iPad.
“[...] Good Ideas has been especially designed with tablet-friendly features such as smaller articles, greater emphasis on visuals, smart phone-friendly typefaces and an interactive contents page, making it accessible for both the traditional newsstand and digital user.
[...] Designing Good Ideas to be as accessible digitally as in print is a natural next step for our business and provides an exciting platform for advertisers to engage with a new audience of women.”
All things being equal – costs, pricing, how engagement is executed – this looks like a business model that might work well for consumers, for publishers, and for advertisers.
Tail wags dog: new Hearst magazine is made for iPad, even in print
Time was, publishers shovelled their linear magazines in to tablet digital editions. Now that order is flipping, with magazines designed for proper tablet interaction being repurposed to print.
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Though digital magazine circulation has increased significantly in recent months, it remains a mere one percent of overall circulation, Ad Age reported last week. A group of five major publishers are hoping Next Issue Media, a company launching its full-feature product tomorrow, can change that.
In a rare move, these five publishers have collaborated to sell multiple titles from a single digital newsstand. Hearst, Conde Nast, Time Inc., Meredith and News Corp. have all invested in Next Issue, which first launched in beta last May.
Since then, the company has expanded its digital newsstand app to 32 titles including such household names as People, Real Simple and Esquire. The startup, which has offices in both New York City and Palo Alto, is currently focused on “the titles that everyone reads,” according to CEO Morgan Guenther, a former president of TiVo.
Next Issue is predicting that consumers want to access all titles in one place, similar to the way they watch television and movies on Hulu and Netflix. And the company designed its new pricing structure with this prediction in mind. In addition to selling single magazine issues and subscriptions, Next Issue will now offer two unlimited monthly packages. Unlimited Basic will sell all monthly and bi-weekly titles for $9.99 per month, while Unlimited Premium will also include weekly titles for an additional $5. Guenther expects these monthly packages to appeal to magazine enthusiasts and families.
Today, Next Issue has tens of thousands of customers who read an average of two magazine titles through the app. The company does allow customers to access content for free if they already have a print subscription. Though Guenther declined to say what percentage of customers are authenticating their print subscriptions, he did acknowledge that this option is a “big hit, people love it.”
Next Issue’s potential audience is currently limited, since the app is only available on tablets running Android version 3.0 or later, but the company hopes that will soon change. It plans to submit to the Apple App Store in the coming weeks and expects to be available for the iPad later this year.
Next Issue is not the only instance of collaboration between major publishers. Ongo, a company that aggregates and curates news content for a fee, has raised funding from publishers including The New York Times, Washington Post and Gannett. Free digital newsreaders abound as well. Yet despite the popularity of free apps such as Flipboard and Pulse, Guenther firmly believes consumers will pay for Next Issue. “We’re focused on premium content,” he said, “content that’s not available for free on the web.”
Next Issue launched in 2009 and has raised an undisclosed amount of funding to date.
Many magazine publishers see the iPad as their salvation. Five of the big ones (Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp., and Time Inc.) banded together to create a joint venture called Next Issue Media, and today the company is launching its Android app.
CEO Morgan Guenther (formerly president of Tivo) says that despite all the excitement about bringing magazines to tablets, the current system is lacking — specifically, the need to download a new app for every magazine. Gone is the “newsstand” feeling of walking into a store and browsing a rack of titles. Instead, it’s like you’re ushered into a windowless room where you can read a copy of Wired. Want to read The New Yorker? You’ll have to leave for another room.
“And when I walk in, there’s a big sign on the front door saying, ‘Here are your instructions for reading the magazine,’” Guenther says.
So Next Issue offers a single newsstand app where, eventually, you may be able to subscribe and read all your favorite magazines. Right now, it has 32 titles. Even though it’s a relatively short list, it’s an impressive one, including Better Homes & Gardens, ELLE, Esquire, Fortune, People, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker, TIME, and Vanity Fair. You can purchase individual issues or subscriptions, there’s also a free 30-day trial for each subscribers. The catalog starts in January of this year.
Guenther demonstrated the app for me earlier this week. There’s a nice 3D carousel for quickly flipping the pages, and publishers can add extra content like bonus photos, videos, and interactive features. And the interface is consistent between each magazine, so you don’t have to learn how to read different magazines.
Even more than the interface, I was excited about the price. Individual subscriptions range from $1.99 to $9.99 per month, but there are also two unlimited options — $9.99 for every monthly and biweekly title, or $14.99 for everything, including the weeklies like TIME and The New Yorker. You probably won’t read every issue of every title, but you can follow your favorites, and dip in and out of others as specific stories and issues interest you. It’s almost like a Netflix plans for magazines.
Oh, and if you don’t own an Android tablet (who does?), Guenther says Next Issue will be submitting its iPad app to Apple soon.
The top 100 publications in Apple’s iOS Newsstand generate about $70,000 per day, according to a new study released today from research firm Distimo.
Apple first released its Newsstand back in October as a new feature for iOS 5. The Newsstand is basically a store that allows people to buy digital versions of magazines and newspapers that are optimized for the iPad and (to a lesser extent) the iPhone/iPod touch. The Newsstand is displayed as a unique folder on the iOS home screen, meaning you can’t really ignore it. And much like the App Store, Apple takes a 30 percent cut of all Newsstand sales.
The study said most of the revenue generated daily is from in-app purchases from U.S. customers. The New York Times, News Corp.’s The Daily and the New Yorker are among some of the top publications raking in money. News apps as a whole account for seven percent of the top 200 highest grossing apps, according to the study.
Not long after the Newsstand launched, several of the big magazine publishers were gushing about the boost in sales. For example, after reporting a 268 percent uptick in revenue, Conde Nast revised its digital strategy to put a greater focus on the Newsstand.
Do you use the iOS Newsstand to read your magazines and newspapers? Let us know in the comments.