The following is an excerpt from an interview with Mr. Vijayakumar Radhakrishnan, Co-founder and President of Magzter.
In a very short time span Magzter has seen tremendous success. What are the main reasons for this meteoric rise?
Magzter has a self-service platform with real time MIS reporting for publishers. Managing digital magazines is very easy and you can watch the metrics real time. Also the availability of the magazines across multiple platforms like iOS, Android, Web makes it even more attractive. From consumers stand point purchasing magazine is seamless and we have a concept called "Never Lost" where the consumers will never loose any subscriptions that they purchase even if they happen to lose their device.
Apart from being cross-platform, how do you differentiate yourself from a NewStand? Or Zinio which is also cross-platform?
We have a very different technology and business model. Magzter has built a technology platform which is hosted on cloud and all magazine rendering happens automatically without any manual process. This gives Magzter a complete scalability to increase the number of magazines and publishing is immediate. There is no wait time for publishers to see their magazines going digital. Also, from the commercial terms Magzter does not charge publishers any upfront or operational cost. Magzter works on revenue share model which encourages publishers to venture digital.
When do you plan to come out with an app for Blackberry and Windows Phone?
We are currently working on these platforms and slated to be released before October 2012.
It was reported recently that Magzter plans to foray into the news and entertainment segment. Wouldn't you face stiff competition from curated services such as Flipboard, Pulse and Google Currents? How does Magzter plan to tackle that?
Magzter is currently working on a unique business model with publishers and a unique model for content delivery. We will unveil the plan of expansion in the next few months. Right now our focus is to make sure we are the largest platform in the world for magazine publishing.
Can you share some numbers regarding the devices that access your platform specific to India? For example, we read somewhere that around 600,000 iPad users accesses your service. If your total registered users in India are somewhere around 700,000 does that mean just 100,000 users access Magzter via Web and Android?
We see 80% of our traffic (buyers) coming from iOS at this point. We are crossing a million users in India all platforms put together.
What is the mechanism by which Magazines get featured on the home page? We found Digit featured under “International Featured” on the second page. Is this based on popularity, no of downloads, price per issue etc?
Magazines get featured based on the popularity, date of launch, sales, and content vertical. We have multiple logic to feature a magazine.
Is it cheaper for customers to buy the individual apps for each publication (as most popular magazines/newspapers have dedicated apps) or to buy it through Magzter?
Buying it from Magzter would be cheaper as we work with publishers to offer best discounts to users.
Do publishers have the option to include interactive content or special editions for Magzter?
Yes, it is available and it is free to use and there is no need to pay any money to embed interactive content.
When do you think will we see a near-complete transition into digital content?
We expect this to happen over the next few years. Today, we are in the early stages and publishers may see 5-20% digital sales and the trend is highly encouraging for publishers. Magzter to offer digital magazines to consumers.