It isn't always easy to find what you want in the app store, or to browse for apps that might not be in the charts.
With this problem in mind, Magvault brings together digital publications, to be perused on a digital newsstand.
I chatted to Neil Morgan, Founder of MagVault, to find out more about the service.
In one sentence, what is your product/service?
Magvault helps anyone with a tablet or smartphone find digital magazines in app stores.
What problems does it solve?
Digital magazines are hard to find, as they are hidden in app stores. App stores are the ‘walled gardens’ that operate outside the web, and they promote their bestselling apps (games, films, books) ahead of slower sellers, such as digital magazines. At present, promotional space is not sold in app stores.
Magvault.com has created a web site that is responsive to tablets and smartphones and allows easy search by title, category and app store. This enables users to link directly through to magazines in the app stores that work for their device.
For example an iPhone user can search for magazine apps that just work on iPhones and click on a magazine link that takes them directly to Apple’s Newsstand to download the app.
What are your immediate goals?
We want to work with publishers, app stores and magazine readers in the UK to establish the best design, site format and content mix that works for finding and buying digital magazines.
What were the biggest challenges involved in building the tech or your team?
Our biggest headache is monitoring the hundreds of different promotional deals being offered to digital readers in order to attract them to buy or try a digital publication.
How will the company make money?
Advertising and affiliate income, initially. It is unlikely that we will generate much income from these revenue streams until we launch in the US, where magazine readership and tablet ownership is far higher than in the UK.
We plan to launch a Premium version of Magvault aimed at publishers, developers and advertising agencies. This will include ‘professional’ data such as ABC figures, digital media packs and app store rankings.
Who is in your team?
There are two of us working full time on the project at the moment with a number of virtual team members working on specific tasks. I am the founder and major shareholder. I started my career marketing real-time information at Reuters before the internet era, and was tasked to create an indexing system for many thousands of Reuters pages.
During the ‘internet era’ proper, I started, ran and sold four online companies. More recently I worked with McPheters, the US media consultancy, analysing iPad news and magazine apps and presenting to publishers on what makes a great magazine app.
David Hicks is our co-founder and an award-winning digital publishing creative director with over twenty years’ experience in design and publishing, across advertising, corporate design, and consumer and customer magazines like Sky Movies, T3, and The Official Manchester United magazine. While at Future Publishing in London, David was challenged to launch and oversee the T3 iPad edition, which is now one of the world’s most successful digital magazines. He knows a great deal about the digital magazine world, put it that way!
Where would you like to be in one, three and five years’ time?
In a year’s time we would like to have launched the US version of Magvault. In three year’s time we would like to be worldwide, and in five year’s time we’d like to have proven that digital magazines can be more profitable than print magazines due to their use of rich media and ability to be delivered anywhere in the world.
The stats today already prove that people are willing to pay for optimised, interactive content, the key is getting them to discover where it can be found.
Other than your own, what are your favourite websites/apps/tools?
Twitter makes the task of promoting hundreds of niche magazine titles a possibility when your marketing budget is as limited as ours. Sky Go transforms the value of a paid TV subscription, and Spotify and Netflix show the way that subscriptions will work in the future.
Radio Times’ DiscoverTV is an interesting attempt at showing us where to watch programmes other than on TV.