One of the most frequently asked questions we have to field, is how idio differs from the other digital magazine providers. Since there are fundamental differences in our approach and process, I thought I would write a quick post explaining the differences.
The digital magazine providers (such as Ceros, Texterity, Zmags, Nxtbooks, Mymagz, Zinio etc etc etc) at their core provide a simple PDF-to-”flash page-turn magazine” format conversion. So the publisher uploads pdf’s into the content management system, and the system outputs a magazine format – allowing the publisher to add links and sometimes interactive elements as well. As standard, these services provide good tracking, and subscription payment walls.
This service is fine for a publisher who has an archive of print magazines and wants to digitise them cost-effectively – opening them up to a wider audience online. However it is likely that these services are really an interim solution (between print and online) as they don’t make the most of the advantages of the web, and still have most of the costs of print publishing. And the most important issue in these economic times, is that for all their cost-cutting, the standard page-flip magazines do not create any (or much) additional revenue).
Only a certain proportion of the online audience wants to read online sources in a magazine format – as it can be very restrictive (and the digital magazine providers force the reader into a linear reading experience, rather than a hierarchical/link-based one which is more normal on the web). One key difference between print and digital publishing, is that when on the web, presentation is abstracted from content (whereas in print, presentation is fundamental to the content). In other words: online, even if you publish in a pleasing format, users still want to consume the information as they please – ie they will view it from mobile, or via RSS, or place it in a widget for their iGoogle, or with old browsers/operating systems etc. idio therefore is able to deliver via multiple channels simultaneously – magazine, website, mobile, widget, desktop download. And the process of formatting and presenting the content is done automatically based on how the user wants to receive it.
With the standard digital magazine providers, the publisher still has to design and layout every page spread (a cost which is acceptable in print publishing, but is hard to carry online only). With idio, the page spreads are created and designed automatically from the source text and media. External links and relevant article links are also selected automatically.
idio also adds the personalized element, which no other digital magazine providers do. We select the best content for the reader based on their tastes. This increases the value to the reader, and improves enagagement and retention. The magazine can be customized by the user or publisher to improve the value to each individual.
Dynamic vs Static:
All the above points stem from a fundamental difference in architecture. idio is dynamic – all the content, presentation, formatting is done by the system, and can be edited, added or removed instantly and regularly. With the digital magazine providers, the user is generally viewing an edited pdf – a static page. This dynamic structure has a huge number of benefits – not least that idio can be completely feed-driven: once it has been told which content feeds to ingest, it can run automatically – learning about user taste and improving its content selection based on their usage, delivering high-engagement advertising based on taste, demographics, and geographics, and being fully embedded within the major social networks.
Since idio can choose advertising based on the user, and insert it on the fly through engaging formats, the advertising can be sold in online terms (CPM, CPC etc) and capitalize on the best campaigns available at the time of reading, therefore the content generates money every time someone views it. The amount of brands who are willing to buy digital ad inventory on print terms is declining from a its already low base. idio solves this. And achieves very high advertising rates and engagement.
Hope that helps. I am aware that some of the other providers are starting to become slightly more “dynamic” in their process, but this still is the fundamental difference between idio and the standard providers. Do shoot me an email or comment with any questions or thoughts.