Future of digital newsstands discussed at FIPP Digital Newsstand Forum

On day one (14 May) of FIPP’s inaugural Digital Newsstand Forum in Bangkok, Thailand, representatives from Zinio and Magzter presented their thoughts on the future of digital newsstands, and the developments within their companies to help publishers on their newsstand journeys.
Joan Sola, president, international, Zinio, USA (pictured), said that 60 per cent of what the company sells is outside its country of origin, and 84 per cent of that is in English, which gives a good idea about how international transactions of this nature are occurring.
Sola referred to the growth of smartphones all over the world, and said that although they have huge penetration, they are the lowest distribution channel for magazines. And why? Because most are not optimised. “Support smartphones with the right user experience and the right level of features,” he said. “Smartphone users should be able to expect cross-platform access from their favourite magazines, with a range of different features on each.”
Sola referred to Zinio’s recent major strategic shift, in the form of its acquisition of Audience Media. “We have traditionally been focussed on distribution, but by listening to publishers, we are evolving from a digital newsstand to a distribution enabler, offering technology services to publishers,” he said.
Girish Ramdas, CEO, Magzter, USA, talked through the company’s latest developments, which includes its ‘OREY click tool’ – allowing the publishing of content once, to be present on many platform. “We want to make the distribution process easier for publishers,” he said. Ramdas also demonstrated Magzter’s Magfly tool, which allows interactivity within digital magazines, for example ‘talking covers’ and 360-degree views of images. “You need to value-add your content, because you’re also selling the experience,” he advised. He also referred to developments with interactive advertising, where magazines are allowing advertisers to create better and more engaging user experiences.
“The digital newsstand should be a partner in your future growth, not just a point of sale,” concluded Ramdas. “It’s always going to be a challenge to operate in a new ecosystem which brings new audiences to you, but it’s possible.”

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