Media Pitch: MagTitan Aims to Fix the UX & Monetization Issues Plaguing Digital Editions
Digital magazine editions can be user-friendly and profitable, says Of Eleven Media CEO Larry Genkin. To do that, Genkin believes publishers must move past replica editions and even responsive design. Although responsive design can improve the reading experience for smaller screens, it tends tends to push ads toward the bottom of web pages or shrink them significantly. Genkin envisions a more premium digital experience where advertisers can have large, interactive ads and users don’t need to zoom or pinch to read content. These ideas inspired Genkin and his team to launch their own software service to help other publishers like themselves make digital editions a premium and lucrative reading experience. Following Genkin explains how Of Eleven Media's software suite MagTitan & Ad Einstein are doing just that.
Who are you? What is your technology and how does it work? Who are the entrepreneurs behind it?
MagTitan is a digital publishing suite of software that that transforms digital magazines from hard to read, static replicas of print into a modern day, animated experience that can be easily read on every digital device without needing to zoom. We also offer advertising solutions through Ad Einstein to help connect publishers with the right advertisers.
MagTitan was founded by myself, my father and our COO Stan Genkin, our brilliant CTO Jan Stejskal, and our EVP of publishing operations Kim Norkett.
Explain your existence: What problems are you solving or opportunity are you enabling? How are you unique and innovative?
Every publisher knows that readership and ad dollars are migrating quickly to digital. Yet, most are giving away ads in their digital editions for free. That has disaster written all over it.
MagTitan solves two existential publishing problems: 1) How to make digital content readable without zoom on all devices; and 2) How to monetize digital.
Arguably our biggest technical achievement has been how to dynamically modify the display of each page so the content can be read without requiring the reader to pinch, zoom, or squint. Often when smart people hear this for the first time they'll blurt out something like "oh, you're doing responsive design," but that's not the case. Responsive design creates these infinite scroll pages that relegates publisher revenue to low yielding banner ads. Our display technology preserves the page, allowing publishers to sell premium priced full-page ad units.
Inspiration: How did you come up with this idea? How does your new tech solution reflect changes and trends underway in the media world.
It came purely out of failure and desperation. We had a group of print magazines that went under, causing us to lose everything. It was then I remembered a lesson my mentor, self-made billionaire Bill Bartmann, had imparted to me years earlier. He said "to succeed in business you just need to be the leader. . .and being a leader isn't that hard. Just figure out where the herd is running and go get out in front of them."
It wasn't hard to see that everything was going digital, so we set a ridiculous goal of being the world's leading digital magazine publisher. To be the leader we felt that we had to use the best software available on the market. As we did our research we couldn't believe that all that was being done was replica apps that didn't come close to taking advantage of what these amazingly powerful computers, tablets, and smartphones could do. That's when we asked ourselves the question, "What would the magazine be like if it was invented today?" The answer to that question is everything you're seeing role out inside of MagTitan and our advertising platform, Ad Einstein.
Results: How have you or do you plan to help media companies increase revenue or cut costs? Can you quantify this?
Our primary focus is helping publishers to monetize digital. MagTitan includes advertising technology, and a few of the most popular ad features include: infinite pages where advertisers can have an unlimited amount of pages in their ads; animations and interactivity within the ad; pay-per-performance where advertisers only pay when their ads are read; and budgeting where advertisers decide how much they’ll spend. When their budget is hit, MagTitan pulls their ad and replaces it with another paying customer.
The financial implications for a publisher can be profound. Here's an example: Take a publisher that has 20,000 monthly reader sessions. These readers on average view one ad per session. The publishers charges $1 when an ad is viewed, which is when the reader either clicks or spends 10-plus seconds on an ad. In this scenario the publication would generate annual digital revenue of $240,000. A lot better than the $0 most are getting from their digital editions today.
Share some wisdom: What do you think are the most important trends affecting the media business today? What do you see that no one else sees?
In five years digital magazines will simply be called magazines, with more people reading magazine content digitally than in print. However, the biggest change is going to be the players. As a group, print magazine publishers are very slow to change. Their modus operandi seems to be not on finding areas of growth, but rather to just slow the rate of decline. On the other hand, you have web publishers who are escaping the dying banner ad based business model and are allocating some of their content to digital magazine ventures. Print publishers should beware, because web publishers have content, audience, and advertisers -- everything you need to launch a profitable digital publication. They "get" digital and, perhaps most importantly, they aren't beholden to a legacy print infrastructure and the exorbitant costs associated with their model.
What's Next? How do you plan on expanding or improving on your offering? Where do you see opportunities for growth?
It's only been a few months since we opened up the MagTitan platform so that publishers could use it so right now it's all about getting people to know about us. We do have plans to expand the use of MagTitan beyond magazines into other sectors such as books, newsletters, catalogs, and corporate communications.
In the next couple of months, you'll see us roll out a circulation product, named Digital Direct, where we will use our 1 billion+ database to bring our customers new digital subscribers. Additionally, through our Ad Einstein advertising platform, we can bring MagTitan customers advertisers so they can monetize remnant space. Here we'll be adding demographic filters so that advertisers can be matched with the right magazines to reach the right audiences.