April 28, 2015 Last Updated 8:19 am

PressPad Lounge: new digital press corner that utilizes iBeacon technology

Publishers and vendors seek to find new ways to present potential readers with their digital edition products, ways as effective as the traditional newsstand or bookstore

The digital publishing platform PressPad today reached out to let TNM know about its PressPad Lounge roll-out. The company has launched a landing page for its service, and it presents some interesting ideas and may be food for thought for those thinking about the issue of digital magazine promotion and sales.

PPLounge-1The idea behind PressPad Lounge is that the service allows a business to turn a space into a reading zone, allowing those with mobile devices to access digital publications for free.

The test case involves a Radisson Blu hotel in Krakow, Poland where guests can access digital publications while waiting to check-in, in the restaurant, etc. The magazines available, of course, are those who are working with PressPad, but it is early on and I am sure that the solution will evolve over time, assuming they find there is demand for this service.

PressPad Lounge uses iBeacon technology to create a space within range of it Bluetooth low energy proximity sensor. Inside this area guests can read magazines for free on their iOS or Android devices.

(You dan read a case study on the solution here.)

This struck a cord with me because over the past two years it has become apparent that the problem with digital edition – magazines or newspapers – has less to do with the quality of the editions (though that is a factor) than it is with the digital newsstands themselves. Obviously, the issue of the Apple Newsstand has been of concern, but the real problem is reaching potential readers.

In 2011, the thought still existed that readers would seek out the new digital editions. The App Store, then the Newsstand, was not as crowded as it is today, and Apple provided a far better sales environment as it was far less eager to push readers to a limited number of titles.

But physical newsstands are better for two reasons: they provide a curated set of titles; and maybe most important, they exist where the readers are (inside bookstores, airports, check-out lines, etc.). To reach readers, digital newsstands need to be closer to readers, too. But this is, obviously, a challenge.

PPL-poster-lgBut some digital newsstands are working the problem. Next issue is doing so through being more aggressive than most in promoting its solution, for instance. Zinio is involved in selling its solution to public libraries. Some platforms are working to make their apps available through the web, outside of Apple or Google’s ecosystem.

Publishers know they need to promote their brands, let alone their apps, to succeed. Traditional publishers, therefore, are beefing up their websites, their mobile efforts, and launching new brand extensions – anything to reach readers where they are. Digital-only publishers are going to have to play catch up, far too many still think launching an app is the goal (when the goal is really getting people to download the app, then buy).

It is good to see PressPad branch out and look for new ways to reach readers (and, of course, this is a potential new business for them). But we need far more of this, including easy ways for publishers to sell their digital editions direct. (No, online flipbooks won’t cut it.)

  • Markus 2 years ago

    I do not know, if the term ‘reader circle’ is used in the US. Here, in Germany, ‘Lesezirkel’ is a very traditional sector for selling and distributing printed press. Subscribers pay and receive a bundle of magazines, which they have to give back after a week and which are re-lendend for an even further reduced subscription-price then. Many waiting rooms (doctors, haircutters, …) use these services.

    Now my point: I count ca. a dozen companies which try to adapt this system to digital magazines. I’d say, the concept of distributing digital editions for free at well defined spaces is by far the most productive segment inside the sector of startups trying to invent new forms of digit press distribution (more productive than flatrates and more then newsstand-style kiosks. Though “productive” here meaning ‘number of startups’ not ‘turnover’ or ‘business success’).