Digital Publishing New Publishing Tech
5 mins read

Q&A: Branded Editions empowering publishers to deliver content in new and innovative ways

Branded Editions, a division of PressReader, creates privately-labeled digital editions for publishers including The New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, The National, and El Pais to name a few. With non-essential print restrictions globally due to COVID-19, Branded Editions has seen a significant increase in publishers wishing to create digital versions of their content. WNIP caught up with PressReader’s Vice President of Content Partnerships, Steve Chapman, to find out more…

Can you give us some background about your company?

PressReader is the largest all-you-can-read international digital subscription platform. With single issue purchase or full premium subscription, PressReader has connected people to their favorite titles since 1999 with over 7,000 magazines and newspapers, in 120 countries and 60 languages. Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada we have additional offices in Dublin and Manilla – bringing our staffing complement to more than 500 globally.

In 2006, we began white-labeling our tech and launched a new division of PressReader called Branded Editions to create privately labeled digital editions for publishers. Growing beyond the web to support cutting edge apps, our Branded Editions product now powers some of the world’s most prestigious titles, including The Washington Post, Clarín, and many others.

What business problem is your company addressing?

In our Branded Editions division, we help publishers convert their print publications into digital form, allowing them to reach their full audience, including their print subscribers. With this solution, publishers continue to offer subscriptions in print-reduced areas and provide a value-add for print subscribers. Our Branded Editions enables publishers to grow their audience, subscription base and revenue by providing their readers with an enhanced reading experience – like easily tapping to read headlines with SmartFlow that supports horizontal and vertical scrolling.  

Last year, our Branded Editions’ solution evolved into an enhanced replica product we call BE 2.0 (Branded Editions 2.0). BE 2.0 is all-encompassing, aligning all content from the newspaper/magazine itself with all of the publishers’ digital content not available in the print editions. The user-centric focus allows publishers to provide engaging digital content in new ways; bringing together newer audiences that want to engage primarily with digital content and traditional audiences who are more accustomed to print format.

What is your core product addressing this problem?

For publishers working with our Branded Editions division, we create a privately labelled product for them that transform flat, PDF-like replicas into immersive, user-centric experiences with a host of functionality including multiple viewing options, mobile-friendly formats, multi-language support and other engaging features such as audio narration, social sharing and article commentary. Publishers can also enhance the printed product even further with our Rich Media tool, which allows you to integrate video, photo galleries anaudio content for editorial or advertising purposes. With these features, publishers engage further with their readers and build their brand presence through the product Branded Editions provides for them.

Publishers can expand revenue streams with a full suite of e-commerce opportunities and flexible subscription options. Authentication via Single Sign-On providers, In-App Purchases for iOS and Android and print subscriber validation are just some of the ways. Branded Editions can also combine feed-based content with the replica product, either through our branded apps or SDK solution, which allows publishers to integrate the digital edition into their existing app.

Can you give some examples of publishers successfully using your solution?

Here’s a good example: The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette leveraged our Branded Edition 2.0 tech for its digital replica and, in the process, converted 79% of its print subscribers over to its interactive digital replica, helping return the struggling state newspaper to profitability. Together, we recently won the 2020 Mega-Innovation award for their strategy that included our solution. You can read more about the story here.

Pricing?

Branded Editions’ product has hundreds of partners, and for each, we have built a custom package to meet their needs. Since each partner is unique, we scale our model by the market to ensure the price fits the size of the publisher and what they want to provide to their readers. We believe quality is essential. A publishers’ core competence is producing exceptional content; ours is creating a unique platform to deliver that content – with all that money spent on quality journalism, we don’t see why they would want anything less than the best for that investment.  

What are other people doing in the space and why?

There are many solutions out there for publishers to create replica or digital editions that offer varying features for publishers in the industry. What sets PressReader and its Branded Editions solution apart is our vast experience in this space. Through Branded Editions, we have been helping publishers develop digital editions for more than a decade, and we have won numerous awards for those solutions and technology.

One key differentiating factor for Branded Editions are the insights gleaned from PressReader itself. On PressReader, we can first test new features with millions of users on our newsstand before integrating new functionality that would benefit our Branded Editions product. This allows us to consistently evolve, providing a far superior product to what other providers may offer.

How do you view the future?

With the launch of the new BE 2.0 mobile app product last year, we are pushing forward with new enhancements and features designed to engage users longer, driving increasingly relevant content to the forefront of their experience. New tools for publishers, allow them to update, enhance and change content as stories evolve are being added to the product, while more ways to attract and convert readers are in development. We work closely with our partners, to identify fresh approaches to monetize their content, including new advertising options on our BE 2.0 mobile apps and web interface. We are also be expanding the functionality of our SDK, which provides publishers with different routes of incorporating their enhanced replica product into their own mobile apps. 

We do business in every country across the globe. In the past two months, we’ve been working hard to respond to an increased demand for publishers moving to digital (or those who are upgrading their readers’ experience), especially now that non-essential print is temporarily banned in several countries amid COVID-19. We’re working hard with publishers to ensure they can get their content into the hands of their subscribers while they are unable to deliver them physically.

Anything else we should know about?

Recently we worked with Editorial Televisa (a subsidiary of Grupo Televisa, S.A.B.) to create a digital replica kiosk with over 20 magazines of their magazines – in just three days. Editorial Televisa is the largest Spanish-speaking publisher of magazines in the world with more than 30 titles and licenses globally, including well-known titles such as Esquire, Fortune, Marie Claire, Automóvil Panamericano, National Geographic, Women’s/Men’s Health, and Caras – just to name a few. Here’s the link to their final product: Editorial Televisa Branded Edition.

Thank you.

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