New Publishing Tech
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Q&A: LeKiosk, pioneer of the information streaming industry

time magazine in iphone

From independent beginnings in France in 2006, LeKiosk has evolved into an information streaming platform that now delivers more than 1,600 magazines, from over 450 publishers, for readers to enjoy whenever they want and on the device of their choice. With new developments in the offing, and as Apple News + muscles its way into publishing streaming, we caught up with Ari Assuied, CEO and Co-Founder of LeKiosk, to find out more…

Can you give us further background about LeKiosk?

LeKiosk is a pioneer in the information streaming industry. While streaming has grown rapidly for video and music, for a long time we have had the conviction that information would be the next relevant content category to catch users’ attention in a similar way.

We are a genuine success story in France, have expanded into the UK & Italy, have experienced exponential growth over the past three years and have attracted over a million active monthly users to our service. Based on this success and momentum, we’ve taken the decision to accelerate our international expansion, starting by increasing our presence in the UK.

Led by tech and innovation, we offer an information streaming service that opens readers up to a diverse range of newspapers and magazines, accessible whatever the device, the reading context and the moment of the day.

At a time of immense change, we’re continuing to harness technology to deliver that service to our users.

What business problem is your company addressing?

Readers are increasingly eager to reconnect with quality information. Paradoxically, this has never been so difficult to achieve due to the media storm we’re surrounded with these days. This is our challenge, and we believe it’s huge.

To meet this challenge we need to understand the problems both readers and publishers are experiencing in the current state of the market.

For readers there are two main issues; firstly there’s the issue of trustworthiness of information; what’s ‘fake news’ and what isn’t? Secondly there’s a real media storm around us, we are deluged by an ever increasing amount of information from applications, advertising and content providers all fighting for every second of our waking attention. This phenomenon has led to the global trend of ‘news fatigue’ with 66% of adults reported to be feeling overwhelmed by it all (Looking Further with Ford, Trend Report 2018).

For publishers, there’s the financial crisis: the golden age of digital advertising is over and there’s a challenge to make money when advertisers seem to only bet on digital traffic. This is creating a vicious cycle; as revenues go down, there are fewer journalists to produce high-quality content, so the eye-ball count falls further. The figures back this up: according to a recent UK Government study, the number of full-time journalists has fallen by over 25% since 2007.

These issues really matter to us. Readers are increasingly distrustful of the content they read. According to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2019, 70% of people in the UK are concerned about misinformation. The paradox is that just as there’s the greatest need for quality content, it’s become harder to find it among all the free, inaccurate, opinionated verbiage.

Tristan Harris (ex-ethicist designer at Google) has an explanation for this. He has developed the concept of bubble filter: the algorithm phenomenon which imprisons people in a comfortable space. Basically, people will always be exposed to content that suits what they think – they like having their prejudices confirmed. There are served ads, marketing messages, notifications that all fit into this narrow worldview and with little chance of escaping these confines. There’s a growing hunger to know more so the pressing question is:  how can we break this glass ceiling?

What is your core solution addressing this problem?

LeKiosk is a haven in this frantic media storm of information; a haven of quality, because we believe quality information deserves a place of its own. Our platform enables readers to take back control and to access the content they want, in the way they want it regardless of their device or their content preferences. We see ourselves providing them a mindful information experience.

From a publisher perspective, thanks to the large audience we’ve grown, we provide an avenue to reach new readers and help get their stories out there.

We work with publishers to connect readers with new titles, new categories, and new interests. We see that the majority of our readers dig into more than 5 different content categories every month, with some of our loyal readers hitting 30 titles.

Put simply: we want to be the go-to information service for the new generation of information gatherers. 

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

A partnership between LeKiosk and publishers is a mutually beneficial arrangement. While we are always looking to expand our portfolio to create the ultimate reading experience for our end users, we also provide an efficient and effective way of getting our publishers’ titles into more hands.

We support our publishers’ digital press strategy, widening the reach of their titles and generating additional revenue for them as a result. We do this through our discoverability experience helping our users discover brand new titles. This includes: our newsletters, our search bar and reading recommendations based on editorialization.

Practically it’s a very simple process for a publisher, they are simply required to deposit a PDF onto our server and it can be live within minutes. We also provide Smart Reading technology which adapts the PDF’s to fit the screen, whether it’s mobile or tablet.

We have recently welcomed Anthem Publishing to our platform. Anthem were looking to expand their digital press footprint and we were looking to increase the breadth of our portfolio. Through our partnership, we have been able to extend our portfolio, including creating a brand new Food & Drink Category on our website, widening our offering to the end user. While Anthem benefits from tapping into a new audience and the increased revenue, circulation and marketing as a result of this.

Pricing?

LeKiosk can be downloaded from the Apple or Google Play Stores, is accessible via mobile, tablet or computer. Subscribers can try the service during one month for 99p and then the unlimited subscription costs £7.99 per month.

What are other people doing in the space and why?

The sector is really dynamic: pure players are popping up every day, with new business models and new ways to consume information which is a testament to the growth in the market.

There are a few other digital newsstands on the market too but we are pioneers in this space and have invested heavily in building a strong and innovative platform that enhances quality content. Most publishers also offer their own digital experience for their subscribers so we see ourselves as complementary to them by helping extend their reach even further. 

How do you view the future?

The market for digital media, which is experiencing strong growth, provides opportunities for all market players. We are passionate about the media and determined to share this passion with the greatest number of people which is why we are constantly improving our product to make it as attractive as possible.

Put simply, our ambition is to be the go-to information service for the new generation of information gatherers

Anything else we should know about?

We have been working hard for the past 13 years to create this new vertical in the streaming industry as the need to reconnect people to quality content has never been so important. 

Thank you.

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