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Publishers have always launched magazine-specific apps with an eye towards bundling the digital product with the magazine and, where appropriate, Web site access. But the verification process for current subscribers versus new subscribers, pricing and access have been works in progress, often requiring integration with a title's existing fulfillment system that, until recently, had been built to support and service print products.
Fulfillment providers have all been working on adding digital asset integration with print—first with online subscription capabilities and paywalls and now with apps. Accordingly, Palm Coast Data (PCD) is rolling out a new digital entitlements system that gives publishers the flexibility to bundle print and digital subscriptions and access, as well as the back-end reporting necessary to more accurately promote products and packages.
The new system is first integrating with Bonnier's Mag+ app creation platform, which is run by spin-off Moving Media. Popular Science and its tablet version, Popular Science+, will be the first brand to work with the system.
Fundamentally, Bonnier will now be able to confirm and activate existing customers that are "entitled" to access digital assets. From there, Bonnier has the flexibility to offer digital subscriptions outside of Apple's App store, both as an add-on to the print subscription or as a standalone product.
"It expands the ways publishers can sell their content," says Mike Lee, senior vice president and chief innovation officer at PCD, in a prepared statement. "It removes the constraints of annual or time-based subscriptions and alleviates product marketing limitations, allowing them to sell bundled digital and print, as well as special offers on digital subscriptions to existing print subscribers. Publishers can also leverage new and emerging markets more quickly and at lower costs among highly mobile customers who are consuming more content through multimedia channels."
Aside from the expanded product mix capabilities, Bonnier can also leverage important reporting capabilities to dial in pricing and marketing tactics, such as offering the digital version more cheaply to current subscribers than new subscribers. Revenue can be applied to specific issues and source coding can help determine the best promotions for Popular Science+.
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