Pressing On
Posted: 4/2/2014  |  By: Nu Yang
As the media industry changes, publishers aren’t the only ones who have had to evolve. Known as NewspaperDirect since 1999, the multi-channel newspaper and magazine content distribution provider, rebranded itself last year to PressReader to align its portfolio of digital content solutions with its vision of connecting people through news. In addition to its new name, the company also launched a new website at PressReader.com.            

Based in Vancouver, B.C., PressReader was founded as a print-on-demand newspaper network, fulfilling orders in more than 100 different countries. In 2003, the company created the PressReader application, where readers could subscribe to just one service to receive access to hundreds of titles as opposed to multiple publications. Today, more than 3,500 publishers in 60 different languages have partnered with PressReader to manage their editorial content and find monetization opportunities.            
According to chief content officer Nikolay Malyarov, rebranding efforts took nine months. “We wanted the rebranding to convey all our segments,” he said. “We explained to publishers the rebranding was a consolidation of all our brands into a more common brand.”            

Publishers using PressReader upload their content as a PDF, where PressReader’s technology enhances the digital edition experience with several functions, including Smartflow (horizontal content presentation), HTML5, rich media (embedded videos, audio, graphics and photo galleries), and easy integration with third-party applications. PressReader also offers translations in 13 different languages and allows articles to be shared online. Full analytics reports are also offered. Malyarov said upcoming additional feeds include real-time and breaking news updates.            

To keep up with the “fragmented” industry landscape, Malyarov said publishers must find ways to reach their readers, which is why PressReader is available on multiple devices, including computers, tablets, smartphones and e-readers running on Apple, Android, Windows 8 and Blackberry. “No matter how small the platform, be available and keep it updated,” Malyarov said.            

Malyarov said he also sees a rise in HTML5, which is why the website was designed to meet this need. “We wanted to offer a richer experience that didn’t make the web app reliant to the app store,” he said. “We also didn’t want to sacrifice its functionality and keep it scalable on all platforms.”             

Malyarov said as much as the rebranding was done for publishers, it was also done for the “news lovers.”            

“We’re delivering an individual-centric product (for them),” he said. “It’s a new way of reaching and engaging readers…we’re addressing the shift seen in readers’ habits by making it more personalized.”