Wednesday, September 28, 2011

NewspaperDirect powers Spanish digital newsstand, Kiosko y más; iOS app gets very mixed reviews

The digital newspaper and magazine distribution company has released a press release to promote its fairly new digital newsstand of Spanish periodicals, Kiosko y más. The online newsstand, Kiosko y más, is complimented with an iOS universal app (the link is to the Spanish App Store), as well as an Android app (though the only app I found in either the Android Market or Amazon app stores was the PressReader app, not one branded Kiosko y más).

The new digital newsstand was originally announced in the pages of El Pais in July. Kiosko y más featuees over 30 newspapers and 60 magazines, all delivered in the replica edition fashion NewspaperDirect promotes. In the newsstand Spanish readers will find such newspaper titles as El Pais, El Correo, Las Provincias, La Vanguardia, El Periodico de Cataluna, and others, as well as magazines like Lecturas, Rolling Stone, In Style, Cinemania and others.
Kiosko y mas represents an important step for the news publishing industry. By forming alliances of this nature, publishers can offer readers the content they love, packaged in a rewarding experience that can be delivered across all platforms and devices," said Alexander Kroogman, CEO of NewspaperDirect. "We applaud this move, which is truly visionary and a benchmark model for other countries around the world."

As other replica proponents are discovering, however, readers are very much split regarding the merits of replica editions. Inside the Spanish app store, the number one star reviews exceed the number of five star reviews, with lots of other levels being used as well.

The problem, of course, is that while some iPad owners like the idea of using their tablets as simply replacements for print, others are rejecting the idea of digital publications as exact editions of print.

Complicating things is that many reviews are complaining about the app itself, and the fact that the price of the digital newspapers seems too high.

Here is a video featuring NewspaperDirect's VP of Business Development, Alex Gruntsev, where he presents a preview of the next release of PressReader.

The main point Gruntsev appears to be making it is that the print newspaper layout is a better experience for readers than the current tablet solutions currently being released. Therefore, the the goal is to create a design that has the advantages of the traditional newspaper design, modified for the tablet. I'm not sure this is the right approach – looking backwards towards design ideas rather than have them originate from the new platform – but it appears they are definitely looking to improve their digital offerings.

Good things to watch for: At the 9:50 watch for the way fonts are changed, far better use of pinch to zoom that the way replica makers are using zoom now; also, the use of audio is interesting.