Magzter, one of a burgeoning sector of digital magazine newsstands, has been courting the North American market, recently signing Maxim and Newsweek. The company just landed another big fish in Hearst, which has put all of its U.S. titles, and some of its international ones, onto the platform.
The two-year-old Magzter has offices in India, London, Singapore and New York and has been making its way across Asia and Europe, more recently setting its sights on signing up magazines in the U.S. The service now claims about 7 million app downloads from a collection of 1,500 magazines from 600 publishers.
Global digital distribution is something publishers are clearly interested in—the original digital editions were often used to grow international subscriptions without the cost of shipping print—and the various digital newsstands have differing degrees of regional representation. Magzter says its highest concentration of downloads are in the U.S., India, UK, China and Singapore.
Available platforms are currently iOS, Android and Windows 8.
For the publishers that are able to, distributing tablet editions through as many outlets as possible has been the over-riding strategy. "We absolutely have to be wherever digital magazines are being sold and we were impressed with some of the marketing plans and objectives shared with us by the Magzter team," says Chris Wilkes, vice president of Hearst Magazines’ App Lab. "As the space develops further, we think we will see many additional niche players enter the space successfully and we will want to partner with many of them."
Price points will be the same as they are across other channels, says Wilkes.
According to Magzter founders Girish Ramdas and Vijayakumar Radhakrishnan, there is no up-front fee for the publisher, but there is a 50/50 revenue split.
That’s clearly higher than revenue shares at other newsstand providers, but Ramdas and Radhakrishnan say features like the cloud-based, self-service upload platform, a realtime sales metrics dashboard and availability in markets like China and the Middle East make the split more palatable.