Increasing the amount of orders fiftyfold in one week's time is a result no company can let go unnoticed. Especially when it's the effect of an experiment proposed to a small group of customers on the company's blog, and when those willing to participate are higher in numbers than regular customers in a month.
Paul Nowak, CEO at PressPad, must have surely been more than happy to have received a response from the magazine publishers, to which he had proposed a new model of cooperation - publishing their magazines on App Store free of charge, in exchange for the first 199 dollars each application would make every month. The result of the experiment, bound to simplify the financial flows, has become the foundation for changing the way of thinking about the business model of a company overnight.
What it takes to understand mobile publishing
It does not take a few days to get to know the publishers' needs, which PressPad is a good example of: the company started up during the iPad hype, survived the discussion whether tablets kill the press or not, and for a dozen or so months, has been enjoying a stable increase in the number of customers. Until last week.
The new model proposed by PressPad on the company's blog has aroused great interest among the customers. The basic assumption of the proposal was to simplify the account settling and cooperation on the PressPad-publisher line: instead of committing resources into building one's application, the publishers can publish their own magazines on the iPad through PressPad for free. In exchange, PressPad will keep the first 199 dollars the magazine earns each month, while passing the rest to the publisher, free of any commission.
What might be the most important thing to publishers that are unsure of their strength on the mobile devices market, is that if their title happens to have a weaker month, they will not be required to pay the full amount of 199 dollars - PressPad accepts that risk, stating that their experience with tablet magazines together with the data they possess allow them to balance such a model.
One of the first committed customers is transferring to PressPad from a competitive platform which offers him a 50/50 profit share. The publisher notices that with income exceeding a few thousand dollars a month, the new model is a "no brainer" for her business.
Why have publishers fallen in love with the new model?
There are numerous ways of settling accounts, why did the one proposed by PressPad fit the magazine publishers' tastes then? The answer is to be sought in the way the publishers and operators of applications available on the market cooperate. In the new model, the publishers do not risk long-term contracts with the operator. They do not share profits. They know when and how much they earn in advance. And above all, they do not need to commit their own funds in the beginning in order to test whether iPad publishing suits their magazine or not.
In spite of the early announcements stating that the new model is solely experimental, the PressPad team has decided to use it to supplement their traditional subscription model and share it with all interested publishers.
Do publishers need tools to publish on tablets?
In terms of technology, PressPad is one of the content publishing platforms on mobile devices. It uses PDF files which are well known to publishers as the content source and then it builds a dedicated Newsstand application available to readers in App Store for each title.
What makes their solution stand alone is the lack of costly integrations and the simplicity of the workflow that allows small and medium publishers to use PressPad by themselves.
From the reader's point of view, a magazine using the PressPad technology does not differ from the other ones in App Store - it is available in Newsstand, easy to download, available for offline reading and allows for buying single issues as well as subscribing for a longer period.
The CEO of the company, Paul Nowak, before taking up iPad publishing, has been writing Poland's most popular blog about Apple. The long-term sympathy for Apple's products does not constrain him from working on Android support (planned release: end of September) which will also be available in the new financial model for magazine publishers.
What is needed to sell more on mobile devices?
The PressPad offer is also more credible for publishers because the company's mission has always been helping magazines earn money on mobile devices. Today, supplying the application itself is not enough for one to make it with the product in both the App Store's tangle, as well as the global market.
The publishers receive free audit of their actions, they are constantly monitored by a team responsible for mobile growth, and if there is anything that could be changed, they receive actionable insights from the PressPad team. Proposals of changes can go as far as cover changes, new copywriting of the magazine description in App Store, marketing campaign suggestions or magazine pricing changes.
A difficult task and a million potential customers
The company's mission is to supply small and medium publishers with a tool that allows them to compete with the big players on equal terms. The product is already being used by tens of customers, and in the new model, new customers can add their own applications to App Store without taking any risk.
PressPad estimates that there are more than a million publishers in the world who might be interested in the mobile market. The company's aim is to reach each one of them with its offer because at the end of the day, the appearance in App Store means profit both for the publisher and the readers.
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