Call me old fashioned but I still prefer paper books and magazines. There's just something that gets lost for me if I'm reading it on my phone rather than a page. I have no illusions that this is a popular opinion. In fact, a Pew study from January found that more than half of adults in the United States now own an e-reader or tablet.
Holding on to the old way is a fool's errand, especially because there is a ton of money to be made in what is an exploding space. The digital magazine space is worth $11 billion alone!
Digital newsstand Zinio knows that, and it wants to be the dominant player in magazine content for mobile devices. That is why it has gone out and purchased Audience Media, a developer of mobile app solutions. Terms of the deal, which was announced on Tuesday, were not disclosed.
The merger will allow Zinio to "play across the mobile landscape," and to "offer publishers a more seamless solution," Beth Murphy, EVP of Product and CMO at Zimio, told me.
Founded 11 years ago, Zinio allows consumers to access over 500,000 magazines on over 33 newstands on mobile and desktops devices. It works with 350 global publishing partners. Zinio has been downloaded over 24 million times, 84% of which were on mobile, making it the largest digital newsstand for magazines.
But something has been missing, according to Murphy.
"Magzines are accessed mostly in in PDF form, which looks great on tablet, but doesn’t look great on smartphone," she said.
Plus, the way information is presented, especially when it comes to images, has also been lacking. And publishers have trouble formatting their publications in different languages across different countries.
The acquisition of Audience Media, which has developed a multi-channel publishing system, will help change that. The company makes it easier for the magazine industry to transfer PDF content to different mobile devices.
From the consumer perspective, the acquisition will allow them to have more titles in the app store, Murphy explained to me, because of the cross-platform editorial content management system (CMS) capabilities enabled by Audience Media.
This will allow publishers who have struggled to address the software challenges and cost implications of the move from print to digital in the past to have a better, more cost effective way to manage their content and publishing experience across multiple platforms, countries and languages.
So what happens to Audience Media now that is has been acquired?
Well, two employess will be joining the executive team at Zinio. Otherwise, it sounds like not much else will change. Zinio will be keeping the Audience Media brand, and Murphy says that there "won't be a big change to the Audience Media organization."
First established in Barcelona, Audience Media has development and sales offices based in New Zealand, South Africa, UK & Vietnam.
Audience Media works with more than 60 brands across 14 countries, including Cosmopolitan, CIO, Good Housekeeping, Grazia, Hello!, and Marie Claire. It has published 40 new applications in conjunction with Zinio with a further 120 currently under build.