Digital news app Zinio raises $20M

Faith Merino · November 23, 2011 · Short URL:

The mobile newsstand app skips the free aggregation model and delivers paid high-quality content

While digital news aggregator apps like Pulse and Zite have found firsthand that publishers don’t take too kindly to having their content culled and redistributed for free, other digital news apps are living large via a paid model.  One such digital newsstand app, Zinio, seems to be doing pretty well for itself—insofar as it hasn’t been threatened with a lawsuit—and it looks like the company has just raised a cool $20 million, according to an SEC filing.

The company was not immediately available to provide more color on the funding, so it isn’t clear who the investors are, but in 2005, Zinio raised a $7 million Series A round from Commonwealth Capital Ventures and North Bridge Venture Partners.

Founded in 2001, Zinio skips the sexy free news aggregation model and delivers content the way it has always been delivered: for a price.  Mobile users can purchase content once to be read on any screen, which means they get the magazine the way it was originally laid out, complete with images and graphics, etc.  Zinio’s arsenal includes more than 5,000 titles from around the world, including the major ones, such as Rolling Stone, The Economist, Hello!, US Weekly, T3, Travel + Leisure.  Content comes in 33 different languages, and Zinio accepts 20 different forms of currency.

Most recently, the company announced that its app will now be available on the new and impossibly popular Kindle Fire tablet—and to sweeten the deal, it’s offering all new registrants a $25 shopping credit between now and March 2012.

Digital reading is flourishing with the wildfire growth of new tablets, which are expected to reach some 35 million consumers this year and more than 208 million by 2015, according to Gartner.

Zinio is currently available on almost all tablets—even the lame ones that no one really wants, such as the Kobo Vox and the Lenovo ThinkPad (I’m such an elitist bitch)—as well as 50 different smartphones worldwide.  Zinio is one of the top apps for news on Android and WebOS and is the top grossing app in news in over 50 countries on the iPad.


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