With 122 million tablets sold in 2012 and the number expected to rise to upwards of 275 million units by 2016, it comes as little surprise to discover that at least 40 percent of Americans say they’ve read a magazine or newspaper on one. With media and publishing companies looking to stay current with the trend, LA-based Readz announced its launch today to provide a new content management and publishing platform that optimizes content for tablets targeting small to mid-sized publishers and corporate content marketers.
Founder and CEO Bart De Pelsmaeker spoke with BetaKit about the challenges faced by smaller publishers who end up resorting to merely uploading a PDF version and miss out on optimizing their content for tablets. “I saw a straight translation from a PDF…the immersivity was not there in a way required to engage the reader. Today most of the apps that are available for magazines are very much PDF replicas,” said Pelsmaeker in an interview.
Built for publishers and SMBs that lack the necessary resources to custom build their tablet apps, Readz gives content creators the tools to edit, design, publish, and host publications that can then take advantage of interactive ads, gestures, in addition to incorporating multimedia content. The platform comes equipped with several templates and layouts which can be adapted to suit customization requirements in addition to enabling the creation of completely new ones using Readz drag-and-drop visual theme building tool that requires no prior web design or coding knowledge. The end result is a cloud-based HTML5 app that readers can download instantly and content creators can manage on the backend while being able to scale and generate content as they grow.
The SAAS startup offers a free basic account which includes account access for up to five users, 5GB of content storage and unlimited issues built on Readz existing templates. For complete customization and integration, its PRO account is $399 per month with additional data storage costs that range from $100 per month for 25GB of data up to $400 per month for 200GB.
Earlier last year, BetaKit covered the launch of Polar Mobile’s MediaEverywhere platform which provides publishers and their internal development teams an SDK they can use to build their own custom HTML5 mobile sites. There are also other competitors like OnSwipe and Pressly which provide a similar offering and more recently Tactilize, a self-publishing app for the iPad targeted at individual content creators. According to De Pelsmaeker, Readz ability to provide a DIY and complete end-to-end solution at a low-cost is how the company looks to differentiate, however, given that the space is growing exponentially, there still exists some elbow space for new players to grab significant market share.
The company will be looking to gather feedback from its early users and iterate to follow-up with the ability to build HTML5 apps that can be distributed to the iPhone as well down the road. De Pelsmaeker said another key component will be layering in social plugins that make the content easy to share as readers consume content on the go. With the proliferation of tablets and consumers increasingly turning to the web and apps to consume content, Readz will be one of many startups helping publishers transition in order to sustain and survive in the digital age.