The move is significant because UK newspapers have previously been resistant to collaborating with media subscription services.
Headquartered in Paris, Cafeyn is Europe’s oldest media and magazine subscription service, and was the first to launch a newspaper subscription offering in Europe. It already handles several newspaper partnerships including L’Equipe, Le Parisien, and Libération. However, this is the first time that UK newspapers have partnered with the company.
UK publishers signed up to Cafeyn include London’s Evening Standard and The Independent as well as the Guardian and its associated Guardian Media Group titles including The Observer, Observer Food Monthly, and Guardian Weekly.
The latter titles are especially notable given the Guardian is testing a registration wall worldwide. This latest move could make it less likely that the newspaper group turns towards a New York Times-style compulsory registration over the longer term as this strategy is not available on subscription platforms like Cafeyn.
Cafeyn is also expanding internationally with the opening of its first North American office via the acquisition of miLibris in Canada. Ari Assuied, Cafeyn’s CEO, told What’s New in Publishing, “Our recent acquisition of miLibris now also gives us a foothold, and local team, in the North American market to continue our growth.”
Our aim is to become, within the next couple of years, an international champion in information streaming.Ari Assuied, Cafeyn’s CEO
Cafeyn’s closest rival, Readly, has also branched out into newspapers, signing up both the London Evening Standard and the Independent, although as yet none of the Guardian Media Group titles. The UK newspapers join Swedish newspaper Expressen and German Sunday editions of Axel Springer’s newspapers Bild, Welt, Welt Kompakt and B.Z. on the Readly platform.
Ranj Begley, UK Managing Director and Chief Content Officer at Readly comments, “We are excited to welcome UK newspapers – the Evening Standard and The Independent – to our portfolio. We work with 800 publishers worldwide, all looking to leverage their digital assets and diversify their revenue streams….our platform offers a compelling proposition to help increase their digital circulation and boost their ABC figures.”
It comes at a time of increased interest in media and magazine subscription platforms, with app downloads increasing significantly since the onset of the global pandemic and lockdown in March of this year.
Readly saw downloads in all markets soar 62 percent in March 2020 compared to March 2019 and 21 percent compared to February 2020.