I spoke to Claudia Zimmer, CEO of the French company Aquafadas, which provides software for digital publishing, especially of magazines and periodicals, on the company’s view of the current market and plans for the future.
TeleRead: What is the Aquafadas house view of the optimal future for digital news and magazine publishing? What solutions is the company deploying to deliver this?
Claudia Zimmer: The most important thing for our clients is that they’re able to create amazing and beautiful digital publications in a short period of time. Today, economic pressure on publishers is an important factor; they need solutions that are both elegant and time-saving. That’s why Aquafadas has developed the largest set of tools to easily create digital content with impressive enrichments. And why we offer different kinds of workflows that can mix automatic and custom-designed creations, all linked to a Content Management System.
Our solution answers the needs of a variety of clients – for example, a large magazine publisher from north Europe like Sanoma, who publishes 18 magazines, or, one of the most important groups, Metronews, who digitally publishes 11 local French issues of its free daily newspaper. We’ve won these and many other publishers over with our flexible system, which enables them to provide the best user experience to their many readers, while our marketing solutions help them increase their community of readers. Since we develop for digital publishing, we have learned it’s important not to be dogmatic, but to provide tools that give publishers the freedom to choose how far they want to get involved with digital publishing, depending on their objectives and constraints.
TeleRead: How competitive is the digital news/magazine publishing environment at present?
Claudia Zimmer: The competitive environment on digital publishing is actually quite divided. You can find a lot of solutions, but each have a very specific specialty (for example, a PDF conversion expert or an app development specialist – but not both). Today, publishers want to offer several renderings of their publications. The first newspaper in France, Ouest France, distributes its daily newspaper on the Apple Newsstand through an app, and its special issue magazines on iBookstore in ePUB format. Aquafadas is the only digital solution provider to offer unique cross-cutting solutions that let chief editors focus not on digital matters, but editorial questions.
TeleRead: Are there strong differences between national/country markets in this field?
Claudia Zimmer: National markets are very different. Why? Because tablet and smartphone adoption plays a big part in digital publishing, as well as the efficiency of printed distribution – both of which vary from country to country. But publishers’ needs remain the same: produce digital content easily, without coding, for different platforms. Aquafadas’ Global Partner Network is using our different and evolutive workflows to reach different markets. The result: one of the most popular Turkish newspapers, Hurriyet, is published using the same tools as some of Japan’s most popular magazines distributed by leading publisher Shueisha.
TeleRead: What future areas are most interesting for development?
Claudia Zimmer: We are working on new exciting features to deeply insert e-commerce modules into digital publications. Additionally, we are focusing on educational needs. And because we want continue to be the cutting-edge solution, we are adding new format export like HTML5. We are also working on evolving the standard formats, to offer better and more interactive content to readers, such as ePUB 3 Hybrid Layout or Open EFT – a standard format for enriched magazines. Standard formats are a key point to let publishers develop their digital business.