PRSS is a relatively new firm based in the Netherlands which provides a simple platform for building digital magazines. There’s long been a debate about the future of magazines and whether they have one, but now it seems that the smart money is looking towards the digital format to save the genre.
We’ve probably all seen a favorite magazine disappear over the last decade or so, along with newspapers and comics from our childhood. But if you’ve ever looked online you might be surprised to find the number of titles that actually exist in digital format. It makes sense really, all the digital devices we use are capable of downloading and viewing magazines. They also have the huge advantage of being instantly available by download and distribution costs are very low compared with traditional magazines.
PRSS owns a platform that makes it much easier to produce high quality magazines online without a team of web designers and coders. It’s kind of like a version of iBooks Author but just focused at the magazine market. In many ways it seems a sensible acquisition for the technology giant, a platform that makes it cheaper and easier to produce content that can go straight into the digital news stand and into the iTunes store.
It’s the production of digital content which is essential to Apple, and by taking control of a platform which enables this to happen they’re actually controlling some of the verticals of the magazine production. What the future holds for the platform is unsure, this maybe simply an exercise in grabbing some design talent from the firm.
Hopefully initiatives like these will allow magazines to flourish in digital format, however there are still many concerns for their future. One is that for many magazines particularly in niche markets is their potential audience. You would expect that a digital format would make this much simpler to reach more people but often this doesn’t work out. In many media markets like films and TV, companies are actually restricting access based on location – so for instance you need to change your IP address to watch most US media sites from outside America – here’s how. It’s not just the TV stations, big firms like Netflix restrict what you watch to your physical location, so to access the British version you’d need either a UK proxy or to connect from that country.