Continuing to diversify beyond its role as a printer, RR Donnelley made a reported $2.5 million investment in the catalog shopping app CoffeeTable, which allows tablet users to browse and purchase from multiple retailers’ catalogs directly within the application. The company declined to confirm the amount of the investment.
This new relationship is in line with RR Donnelley’s efforts to offer a “compelling digital service” to complement “virtually every customer segment” the company serves, according to RR Donnelley president and CEO Thomas J. Quinlan III.
"Our core business is delivering multi-channel solutions," says Ann Marie Bushell, president of RR Donnelley’s CustomPoint Solutions offering. Like catalogers, she adds, "[Publishers] want a provider that can take content from creation to delivery, across a variety of media. Doing so streamlines workflows, reduces cycle times, enables more cost-effective content creation, helps them offer a more integrated environment for advertisers and helps to optimize costs."
News of this investment follows RR Donnelley’s announcement that its Press+ platform is now used by 323 publications to launch paid content models online.
RR Donnelley acquired Press+ last March from co-founders Steve Brill and former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz, with the intention of providing a monetization tool for publishers.
Press+ allows its publisher clients—including large newspaper companies such as McClatchy and Tribune Company as well as magazines such as Robb Report—to offer a variety of paid and metered content plans based on usage, along with mobile/tablet access, enhanced site functionality and out-of-market access.
The company says none of its affiliates working with the platform has reported any loss in online advertising as a result of asking readers to pay for full access. Instead, it says, ad revenue has held steady or, in some cases, increased, while print publications are increasing their existing subscription revenues by 10-20 percent by offering a print and all-access-to-digital bundle.
“This is the year when it’s going to become the rule rather than the exception that publishers have paid models online,” says Crovitz.
“The newspapers started stampeding with this first,” says Brill, “as they were the hardest pressed, but now we’re seeing the magazines coming along with them. Six months from now, we guess we’ll have hundreds of magazines [signed on with Press+].”
Current magazine clients include Hour Detroit and NewBay Media’s TWICE. Brill adds that “a couple of much larger general interest magazines, one in the serious news category,” are about to launch with the platform.
Publishers using Press+ have generally set their meter between 5 and 15 articles, according to the company, while price points typically range from $5 to $10 per month, with most offering print subscribers bundled or discounted digital access.
Publishers can also sell their iPad apps through Press+, which Brill says offers them the advantage of not having to work with other vendors: “You don’t have to share your customer information with Apple, and most importantly, you can bundle print subscriptions with digital, and Apple can’t do that.”
These latest announcements from RR Donnelley mark the company’s continued efforts to evolve with changing customer needs and demands.
Last August, RR Donnelley acquired digital technology company LibreDigital, which provides digital book and periodical replicas, data analytics and content for more than 40 e-commerce sites.
Last October, RR Donnelley struck a $550 million deal through 2020 with American Media Inc. to assist the OK! and Star magazine publisher with its digital convergence.