Digital magazine developers and publishers

This page by Tony Quinn lists leading digital magazine developers and publishers. Digital magazines are known under several terms including:

  • e-zines;
  • digimags;
  • digital facsimiles;
  • digi-zines;
  • interactive publications;
  • epublications.

Digital publishing technologies are used by B2B / trade publishers, customer publishing agencies and consumer magazine publishers, as well as marketing agencies. In addition to magazines, the software (often called a publishing platform) is used for newspapers, books, brochures and catalogues. Publishers' online strategies will also take into account social networking through sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, blogs by its writers and e-mail marketing.

Common types of digital magazine and newspaper include:

  • web-based magazines where printed pages are turned into digital replicas. The process takes the PDFs of covers and page spreads created as part of the printing process and coverts them into web pages;
  • magazines and newspaper online pages that are not based on print layouts but are created 'on the fly' with articles and advertising that can be personalised or selected based on the publisher's or an individual's preferences;
  • digital-only magazines that are sent by email to readers;
  • apps for the iPad and iPhone, or Android devices;
  • ezine for dedicated hardware such as the Sony eReader or Kindle.

The software adds interactive features and 'rich media', such as:

  • links to any websites mentioned in text or adverts;
  • automated phone calls and email;
  • page-turning effects;
  • the ability to search an issue, across all past issues and sometimes several titles (usually offered with digital subscriptions);
  • page selection from an online flatplan;
  • video, animations and sound - rich media;
  • a zoom function to blow pages up larger than actual print size.

Depending on the type of ezine, readers open it as an email, view it on a device that can read websites, or use a dedicated device such as a Kindle, Sony eReader or iPad.

Some online publishers have started to sell advertising for their digital editions separately. Online advertising can be built up through leads generated from email marketing. Web analytics are used to track visitors and find out which parts of a website are most attractive - and where visitors come from.


Digital publishing information

The UK Association of Online Publishers was founded in 2002 and has 26 full members, made up of large magazine and newspaper groups. The site includes case studies of digital magazine launches.

More about online publishing: History of digital magazines.
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Ceros

In November 2006, Maxim publisher Dennis launched Monkey as 'The world’s first weekly digital men’s magazine' using Ceros techhnology. Monkey is sent as an email file each week to readers.
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Exact Editions

Exact Editions runs its website as an online shop where people sample and buy digital magazine subscriptions. These include The Spectator, Dazed and Confused, Literary Review, Wisden and Le Monde Diplomatique. As well as viewing titles on the web, the company has also produced iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad apps for titles such as Dazed. Subscriptions are sold to institutions such as universities and libraries as well as individuals. There is a also a French version of the website. Exact has also produced books for the iPad, such as Simon Garfield's Just My Type: A Book About Fonts.
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Idio

Idio offers a ‘personalised publishing platform’ whereby editorial matter is formatted and presented to readers based on information about their likes and preferences, rather than being based on a magazine’s layouts. A magazine can be customised by the online reader or publisher. Alongside this editorial, specific adverts can be presented related to the reader. Also, Idio allows readers to pass on editorial through their social networks. The site’s blog has listed its 10 Best iPad Applications for News and Top Magazine iPad Applications.


Oppolis

Oppolis was set up in 2003 by a team of software developers and systems integrators with backgrounds in newspapers, magazines and books. Clients include John Brown Publishing and Seven. Products include: GoPublish electronic flatplans; GoReview to allow clients to review and comment on customer magazine pages; and GoMobile tablet publishing software, which allows designers and production teams to draw on content created for print magazines.
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PixelMags

PixelMags has developed more than 100 iPhone magazines and catalogues for publishers. It is also developing applications for Google's Android operating system. PixelMags iTunes app store.
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WoodWing

WoodWing markets its Digital Magazine Tools platform to publishers. The software is used by Future (for the iPad version of T3) as well as US titles Sports Illustrated, Time and People and the Russian edition of Cosmopolitan.
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Yudu

Yudu describes itself as 'a Digital Publishing library and marketplace that lets you read, publish, buy, sell and share digital content'. There is a free publishing tool on the website as well as the professional software, Yudu Pro. A report in September 2010 on the Yudu website suggested the iPad was 'changing the rules of digital publishing' because people were spending far more time browsing the iPad app for GQ and Vanity Fair than they were the websites (from 2-4 minutes a month to 60). Whether this novelty effect will wear off remains to be tested.

Zinio

US software developer Zinio was founded in 2001. In February 2008, Zinio launched a Global Newsstand to make 850 titles available to buy and read online. Before then end of 2010, there were 1,000 titles, mostly in the US, but with 135 in the UK and 12 in Canada.
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