April 29, 2014 Last Updated 7:31 am

Zinio announces acquisition of Audience Media, a provider of CMS and app solutions

Acquisition will allow Zinio to offer cross-platform publishing solutions beyond their traditional digital newsstand offerings

The digital newsstand company Zinio today announced that it had acquired the publishing solutions provider Audience Media. The company was first established in Barcelona, and now has development and sales offices in Vietnam, New Zealand and outside Barcelona.

AudienceMedia-logo“We are excited to be part of Zinio and introduce our technology to new audiences,” Andrew Duck, CTO of Audience Media, and based in Vietnam, said in the acquisition announcement. “By joining forces with a category leader like Zinio, we are giving millions access to digital magazines across devices and helping publishers make a seamless transition from print to digital with the best tools in the industry.”

Audience Media currently has just under 30 apps inside the Apple App Store, mostly for European magazine titles such as ELLE Belgique and O The Oprah Magazine South Africa. In addition to app services, many of Audience Media’s customers are using the company’s publishing solutions to manage their print and web channels via their CMS solutions.

“We have been cooperating with Audience Media for about a year and a half and we quickly realized that they had a great product,” said Joan Solà, EVP, Chief Global Markets at Zinio.

“Their core product is a game changing SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) based CMS… developed by two entrepreneurs that came from the publishing industry. They realized that the solution had to be cloud-based, and what they did was to work with different publishers around the world. They listened to what these publishers would like as a content management platform.”

Audience Media has been working with publishers in Asia, Australia, South Africa and the UK. But now Zinio will be able to start offering these publishing solutions to its client base of 1,200 publishers in 70 countries.

“Audience Media had no access to the breadth of publishers that we had, we had the opportunity, especially over the last six months, to introduce the concept to some of our key publishers. The response was far beyond what we were expecting,” Solà told TNM. “There is a real need for this type of product, and that’s the reason we have made this acquisition which brings a strategic evolution at Zinio.”

“Consistently we heard that it was an increasing problem manage, just in the app environment, so many different app ecosystems. All of them with different applications, different licenses, different screen sizes, screen rations, operating systems – it’s a big challenge,” Solà said.

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The move is a significant evolution for Zinio, which in the early days of the iPad, had once offered branded apps to some of its clients through the Zinio Unity Platform. In May of 2010 Zinio launched a branded app for Sporting News, a client it had been working with for its recently launched Sporting News Today online magazine.

This part of the business faded to the background as Zinio underwent management changes and began to extend its reach into public and corporate libraries through its partnership with Recorded Books.

Now Zinio hopes to begin offering more comprehensive publishing solutions. “We are now combining a B2B offering with a B2C traditional Zinio solution,” Solà said.

While Audience Media has its own native app solutions, Solà told TNM that the app solutions Zinio will be offering are closer to the PDF solutions on sees on its digital newsstand, but ones that use the underlying XML to create a different reading experience.

“What they (publishers) want to see is an app that uses PDF on steroids. That can get more out of the PDF then just the normal user experience,” Solà said.

“Bringing the unique capabilities of Audience Media into our organization gives Zinio the opportunity to deliver the best mobile experiences for consumers seeking individual branded apps or Zinio’s aggregated ‘all in one place’ experience. We are increasing our footprint to become the leading mobile first player for digital magazines. There is a growing consumer appetite for high quality magazine content, and this acquisition will make it possible to develop apps for long tail content in specific niches. We are eager to serve the needs of online magazine readers in creative new ways,” Solà said in the acquisition announcement.

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