The Future of Digital Newsstands

Some are amazed at the quick emergence of digital content; others saw it coming for years. Where will it lead?

Why is it that human beings love to theorize about the future? Maybe it’s because there really isn’t a wrong theory, since none have played out yet. Or maybe it’s because individuals are so passionate and knowledgeable about a topic that they see into it more than other people do. Their theories are more like hypotheses based off some set of established facts.

We are starting to see what the near future is going to look like for the publishing industry and it is going digital. New platforms are emerging like mobile devices and tablets, and those devices are allowing users to experience interactivity while diving into a brilliant, media-rich world.

Some in the publishing world saw this coming. Don Nicholas, Mequoda Group’s Executive Director theorized back in 2003 that there would be a “PDA with extended battery life, extremely high resolution” and more that would help the then long-awaited world of digital magazines emerge.

That article is almost seven years old, yet it’s on the mark. New platforms have emerged, which have spurred the growth of digital content. It isn’t just about creating audio or video pieces and putting them on an over-saturated website host like YouTube. It’s now about creating digital products that can align with niche audiences to be consumed through tablets or mobile devices.

A revolution in reading

It was reported at the end of June that digital newsstands were heading to New York City. It was mentioned in the article that “the innovative newsstand effort utilizes a range of cutting-edge digital signage technologies”.

Not only is the digital revolution reaching individual users through personal devices, but it’s also being housed in actual newsstands in some places. These newsstands are also designed to give advertisers flexibility in the campaigns they run as they can target specifically based on geographic locations.

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Then of course, there is Zinio. The company has been working closely with publishers all over the world to help reinvent the ways people read and consume content. Zinio allows customers to shop for, search inside, read, share and save digital content in new ways on an array of mobile devices. Chances are, if you have a digital magazine subscription on an iPhone or iPad, it’s likely through a Zinio app.

An additional step taken in an unprecedented manner includes a partnership between Zinio and NACS Media Solution, a subsidiary of the National Association of College Stores. The partnership’s main work is to create an all-digital online newsstand specifically aimed at the college market, which currently is undersupplied.

This work will allow college students to purchase books and magazines on the go or from their dorm rooms, which is a major breakthrough since college students are a big key to the development of digital content. As an audience they are more comfortable with the technology than other generations, according to Richard Maggiotto, the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer at Zinio.

The emergence of digital magazines was slow to start, but the speed has quickly come. New markets and new devices bring a lot of potential to the online publishing industry.

If you want to learn more about the future of digital newsstands, join us for the Mequoda Summit Boston 2010 where you can hear Jeanniey Mullen, the Global VP and Chief Marketing Officer at Zinio discuss how customers are reacting to the content and how publishers can begin creating their own multi-platform brands. Early bird pricing for the Summit ends on Tuesday, August 31st. Register today and save $300.

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