PressReader is a news-aggregating digital media platform from Canada, featuring full issues of 4,000+ global newspapers and magazines. As a fast growing distribution channel, it serves and challenges the traditional news publishers at the same time by offering customers flatrate payment models. We talked to Igor Smirnoff, Chief Commercial Officer of PressReader about the company´s business model and the partnership with the Frankfurt Book Fair.
fbm: Igor, not everyone in Europe is familiar with your services yet. Could you briefly explain to us what it is that you offer to your customers?
Igor Smirnoff: We have several solutions. For publishers, they can distribute their title through PressReader and reach a huge audience of millions of online readers. We also offer an HTML5 white-label solution. For businesses, we’re the perfect match — PressReader allows them to provide a huge content selection, it’s very personalized for the diverse customers they serve, and in many cases we can save them quite a bit of money, too. It’s a very flexible solution, offering users the ability to read, share, curate and broadcast their own content. And of course it’s eco-friendly. We’re very active in many markets in Europe, in particular the UK and France. We did quite a high-profile project with Uber this year at the Cannes Film Festival, for example, and we work with an enormous number of businesses and publishers all over the continent. But as is the case with many things, Europe is a little bit behind here. We’re quite successful throughout the Anglo-Saxon world, and advancing quickly in the Francophone world. So we’re thrilled to be making such a big splash in Germany, as the wider European market is a logical next step for us.
fbm: How do the Publishing Houses that „deliver“ your content feel about your services: Do you have the feeling that PressReader is perceived as a much appreciated new sales channel, or is your business model sometimes perceived as a threat to the classical distribution systems?
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Igor Smirnoff: It’s an interesting question. Really, what we’re doing is delivering publishers’ content, so we’re primarily a research and development company. We’re opening up channels and audiences for them that would otherwise be unreachable. So yes, I’d say PressReader is definitely appreciated. It’s a zero-cost solution for publishers, and in fact many of them generate quite a significant amount of revenue through it. But is it a threat? Well, only to those who are stuck in an old-school way of thinking. The publishing world has changed a lot, and it’s going to keep changing. Publishers are absolutely better off embracing this fact. We’ve been in this market for 16 years and there’s a reason we’ve stuck around this long — we’re the only company that’s profitable in this business, doing things at the scale we do globally. So we must be doing something right. I think we’ve figured out the secret recipe and it’s just a matter of continuing this rapid growth we’re experiencing.
fbm: What does the partnership with the Frankfurt Book Fair look like? What will your activities be in the context of the Book Fair?
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Igor Smirnoff: We’ll be the exclusive News Partner at the Fair this year. We’re presenting a white paper called Embracing disruption: the future of newspapers and magazines, which you can pick up in the Business Club, or come talk to us about at our booth (D42 in the Digital Innovation Hall – 6. 2). You can catch us on the Business Club stage on October 15 at 4:30PM. We’ll also be presenting some case studies about businesses we’ve worked with to provide PressReader access to their customers. That session is on October 16th at 2PM on the Business Club stage. And we’re providing complimentary access to all of the 4,000+ titles on PressReader for all of the Frankfurt Book Fair attendees. To access, they only need to download the PressReader app from their device’s app store, and then visit www.pressreader.com/fbf to activate. Anyone interested in purchasing an all-you-can-read personal subscription for themselves, partnering with us in their business, or launching their publication on PressReader can come talk to us our booth too. We’ve got a whole team here!
fbm: How would you characterize the potential synergies between the book publishing business on the one hand and the news/information publishing business on the other?
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Igor Smirnoff: We aggregate content. In every market, people are looking for quality, trusted sources, whether you’re talking about books, newspapers, magazines, research papers, etc. So the synergies are obvious. We’re excited where all of these industries are heading. We believe in individual readers having the freedom to consume the content they want, and to be able to access it anywhere they are in the world. We’re preparing a whole suite of tools that will be pretty transformative in this space, so I think the next 18-36 months will be very exciting.