There’s been a lot of excitement around the possibilities that smartphones and especially tablets offer to traditional publishers, but they also present a big challenge — the costs are often too high, said MediaWire CEO Clifford Hoffer.
That’s why MediaWire is launching a new product called MediaWire Mobile, which allows publishers to launch their own branded apps on the Apple Store, Google Play, and the Apple Newsstand. To release a new issue digitally, they just upload a single file. Pricing is based on the publication frequency, starting at $199 per month (for quarterly titles). And MediaWire doesn’t take a cut of the subscription revenue.
The company had previously offered a product specifically for launching apps on iOS. The new MediaWire Mobile is cross-platform, Hoffer said — as noted above, it supports iOS and Android, plus Windows and Blackberry are also under development. Eventually, MediaWire plans to merge this with its desktop product, so you can start reading an article on your computer and then continue on your phone after you head out on your commute.
Other startups like Onswipe have tried to tackle the cross-platform problem by creating mobile web experiences, but Hoffer argued that “the native experience is still the best way to appeal to the user and keep them engaged.”
He also acknowledged that MediaWire Mobile doesn’t have “a lot of bells and whistles and stuff,” but it’s not just presenting readers with a PDF, either. Publishers can add hyperlinks, YouTube videos, bookmarks, and social-sharing features. Behind the scenes, they get access to analytics with information like subscriber reading habits, geography and demographics. Over time, Hoffer said he also wants to expand MediaWire Mobile’s ad targeting capabilities.
There are about 40 new MediaWire Mobile apps in development, he said.