Evolusent Inc.–owner of Lifestyle Magazine as well as several different companies offering new media content and commerce services–is beta testing Turnit, a free digital newsstand for magazine publishers.
"We’ve tried putting magazines out on the Internet and most options had a cost component that for smaller publishers can quickly become cost-prohibitive," says Evolusent president and CEO Kaleem Ahmad. "As a tech company ourselves, we thought why don’t we build our own platform and put it out for free to the publishing community?"
Publishers supply Turnit with a PDF of the print edition that is indexed for search and automatically converted for PCs and mobile devices. The analytics engine is being upgraded and Turnit will roll out a multi-device port in the next 30 days. Turnit is transitioning to an HTL5 platform. The company also plans to offer mobile apps for iPad, iPhone and Android-based devices.
"Publishers can provide free, controlled circulation magazines or they can set up subscription plans," says Ahmad.
Within 90 days Turnit also plans to let publishers sell advertising across the platform. Advertisers will be able log in, select titles based on keyword or demographic criteria and purchase full-page ads. While the newsstand will remain free, Turnit is "still figuring out the revenue model" for the advertising program, according to Ahmad.
"We want to keep the platform as cost-free as possible," says Ahmad. "Any component we launch on Turnit will be free, there are no plans for a free introductory level and then charging for additional services."
Ahmad claims "hundreds of magazines" are using Turnit, including titles from Vietnam and Bali. Magazines interested in participating most go through an approval process.
"We had an existing relationship with Evolusent (for web development) and they asked us to be one of the beta testers," says general manager Terry Sellwood, who is also a past chair of Magazines Canada. "It’s seamless to me, I’d just love to see an iPad app on Turnit. We’re also on Zinio and the biggest difference to me is Zinio is on the iPad and Turnit isn’t."