PixelMags – Taking Magazine and Published Content to the Online World

Craig Peterson:  Welcome back to Tech Talk with Craig Peterson. Today we’re talking about some of the technology that’s driving innovation here in the country. What are the things companies are using? How are we moving forward? Consumer electronics, there’s a whole bunch of stuff. Very, very exciting to talk about all of this.

Right now we’re talking with Ryan Marquis. He’s a founder and COO of PixelMags. You can find them online at pixelmags.com. They help some of these big publishers that you might have heard of online. Well, maybe you haven’t heard of them, like AutoWeek, OK? OK, you have heard of them. They help them, Pottery Barn and others, to be able to get some of their content out to end users here. They help to monetize it and really pull it all together.
Ryan, welcome to Tech Talk with Craig Peterson.

Ryan Marquis:  Hey, Craig. Thanks for having me on the show today.

Craig: So let’s talk a little bit about what you’re doing. Really, we have seen the death of the publishing industry. At least that’s what’s been on the headlines. We’ve got major newspapers who are having huge problems, laying people off. We have magazines that are just ditching employees right, left and center. Many of them have gone out of business because of the Internet, right? That’s what they all say, it’s because of the Internet. But in fact, the Internet can help these companies.
Why don’t you tell us what you’re doing?

Ryan: Yeah, the Internet could absolutely help these companies. When we started the company a few years ago, the Internet is where most of these publishers were distributing this digital content through these online ebook flippers. We’ve all seen them.

Craig: Right.

Ryan: And as we all know, the mobile space is growing tremendously. And so, we brought to market a very cost-effective way for publishers to get into the mobile space. And when we started PixelMags, it started on the iPhone device only.

Ryan: The iPad was not even on the horizon. None of us even knew about that. And of course, when that hit the marketplace, digital publishing and viewing content to consumers really skyrocketed for our business and the publishers at large.

Craig: I’ve never liked those little digital flippers that I’ve seen on so many of the sites out there. I find them quite annoying. And more and more, people are moving away from their desktops, from their laptops. People really are using things like these new tablets that are all over the Consumer Electronics Show.

Ryan: Yeah, they are. I mean, the tablets are a game-changer. And 2011 is, we’re calling it the year of tablets. I mean, walking around the show today, the new Motorola tablets, all the new Android devices coming out that are going to power these tablets is going to really change again how consumers consume content.

Craig: I think it’s huge. It’s absolutely huge. So what are you doing then? How do you move some of this content that they have into this really more digital realm than really just a regular website might be able to provide?

Ryan: Well, it’s more of an optimized experience for the consumer. Our number one goal at hand is to give the consumers a more interactive experience than just going to a static webpage.
Pottery Barn, I use them as a perfect example. Their new application launching is going to be a replica edition of what they print and hand out in the stores and mail to millions of consumers around the world. But on the iPad and the Android devices, while you’re flipping through the catalog, you’ll be able to actually click on a couch, touch a couch on your iPad and it will launch an app in ecommerce and you can purchase that couch right from your iPad device.

Craig: Right.
Ryan: You can watch a video.

Craig: So is this engaging? Well, first of all, it sounds like you are engaging consumers, but is it really engaging consumers? What are the bottom lines like here? Are we helping some of these guys that have been publishing everything from catalogs through magazines?

Ryan: We are. We’re really helping the industry on a whole, at large. Publishers are now seeing a new source of revenue and a new way to distribute this content that they’ve always had. Dwell magazine is another example that I like using. They are a modern home magazine.

Craig: I like that magazine, actually. Yeah.

Ryan: It’s a great, great magazine. And we found when we launched Dwell magazine that their back issue content started selling. It just went off the charts. And you know, consumers like to consume back issues.

Craig: Sure, something that’s specific to what they want is what they want.

Ryan: Is what they want. And in the past, you go into a Barnes and Noble, wherever it may be, and it’s just the current issue on the shelf. And so it’s another new revenue stream that publishers haven’t been able to monetize on in the past. And the digital and these new tablet devices are allowing us to monetize in ways that they haven’t been able to in the past.

Craig: What a good point, because frankly, it doesn’t cost them a dime, right? This stuff was made, it was sold, they’ve moved on. And now you’re able to help them monetize it and then further the ads in there, as you were pointing out. You see that couch you like. You don’t even click on it now. You just tap on it and up comes the information. You can buy it and everything’s shipped nowadays. It shows up in a truck in a week.

Ryan: And the ads is another great point. I mean, referring back to the web and then going back to these new tablet devices, we actually today announced a partnership with Ad Players, a company that is actually going to work with PixelMags directly and put ads into these magazines, what we call HTML5 Interactive Ads.

Craig: Oh!
Ryan: So instead, on the web, consumers know what a pop-up is, you know?
Craig: Right.
Ryan: And most consumers are…
Craig: Annoyed by pop-ups.
Ryan: …annoyed by pop-ups.
Craig: Pop-unders, pop-overs.

Ryan: Yeah, pop-overs, whatever it may be. And even in applications nowadays, there’s a lot of pop-up banners.
And on our ad network, what we’re going to serve is a seamless consumer experience. So as they’re going through their magazine page, instead of having a pop-up banner come up and entice that consumer to pop a banner, we’re going to deliver a full HTML5 resolution. It’s going to fill the whole screen resolution so there’s not going to be a banner for the consumer to click. It’s going to be more of an enjoyable experience.
And a lot of more interactivity can be built into the HTML5 code, which is going to enhance not only consumers’ experience, but also advertisers when they’re building this content. They can get more creative.

Craig: Now you can think, by the way, for those that might not know, HTML5 provides a lot of features, including video that can be pulled in. It’s almost like Flash, the next generation, if you will, if you’re familiar with Flash content on websites.
So there’s a whole bunch that can be done there as well. So you guys have a lot of magazines you’re working with. You have catalogs you’re working with. What do you see as being the future, really? Are eReaders and tablets where everything’s going?

Ryan: Of course, us being in this space, of course that’s what we like to say. But yes, I mean, we do see that with the growth of not only our platform, but Apple, we can use them as a perfect example, the growth they’ve had with the iOSdevices. I think there’s now, what, over 120 million of these in the marketplace worldwide.

Craig: It’s astounding how quickly it took over.

Ryan: Steve Jobs, in his last keynote, said every, I think it was two seconds, another 200 applications are being delivered to these iOS devices. So as you and I are talking here, Craig, I mean, thousands of apps have been installed.

Craig: Right.

Ryan: And consumers are… It’s a new way for consumers, again, to take in this content.

Craig: You guys have offices in L.A., New York, London, Australia, New Zealand. If you want to find out more about PixelMags and how they can help you, or how even they’re helping other companies, because I think this is an interesting piece of technology that can branch out. Sometimes you come up with a technology, you never know ultimately where it’s going to be used, and some interesting applications. Go online to pixelmags.com. Thanks for being with us, Ryan.

Ryan: All right, Craig. Thanks.