Today it includes more than 95 publishing houses – including some in Latin America – and 450 publications. In 2014, subscriptions via the platform grew by an average of 30 percent per publisher. The alliance reached nominal profitability a bit over a year ago, but as a byproduct of earning money for the participating companies.
It sounds utopian but clearly it works, even (or perhaps especially) in today’s dog-eat-dog world: Publishers in Kiosko y más, large and small alike, pull together for the benefit of one another.
Ramón Alonso Aranegui is not only the managing director of this digital newsstand but also living proof that idealism can survive in the media business. We interviewed him in the run-up to Digital Media Europe (20-22 April in London), where he will take part in a panel discussion about paid-content sales channels.
WAN-IFRA: What is the key to the success of Kiosko y más?
Alonso: Kiosko y más (KyM) was created in a very special way: We invited the main Spanish publishers to specify the platform themselves. They opted for a supportive model, an alliance where everyone takes equal part in the business.
Solidarity is at the core of our business model. With combined subscription packages, the subscriber benefits from discounts of up to 50 percent on a second publication (regardless of who publishes it), and in this way larger publishers help smaller ones.
It was also at the very beginning that a key decision was taken: The technology should not belong to anyone. Other attempts to create similar platforms did not address that point, resulting in many problems.
The most important thing is the content, and we have top-quality content. We have the largest offer of Spanish content. This is our strength.
How do you make publishers’ lives easier?
They feel they belong to a common business where everyone has the same rights and opportunities. Each publisher determines its own subscription prices and commercial and marketing strategies. Each one devises its own presence in the platform and decides which products to sell. We never draft commercial strategies in favour of one publication or another. The publishers set the limits.
Although in the beginning some publishers were hesitant, the skepticism has subsided. The important thing is circulation. Also, the platform doesn’t overshadow the media brand; a new customer subscribes not to KyM but to the publication.
For the publisher, joining KyM does not cost anything, and we guarantee state-of-the-art technology and good customer service.
And all those services are free?
The success of paid digital content depends not only on having a good product but also on marketing it well. To have a good window to reach the customer and to know your reader well is essential. That’s why we develop, internally and specifically for our publishers, user knowledge systems and marketing and targeting tools.
We can offer the best data to our publishers, and all those extra services are offered at no cost. Then they pay us back via the increase in their sales. Our benefits come in the form of a percentage of every subscription sale through the platform.
All these tools provide you a lot of data. How do Spaniards like to read?
Seventy percent of our subscribers read their publications on tablets and 7 percent on smartphones. However, 80 percent of sales transactions take place on desktop or laptop computers. When our clients come to our platform they know we are a tablet product.
The tablet reading pattern is very clear and is very different from the web. Subscribers read at 8 in the morning, during breakfast, and then when they go to bed. We have seven newspapers publishing their first edition with us, which means that at night, subscribers can already read the next day’s edition.
Should publishers be present everywhere? Would being on Kiosko y más and also on Blendle, for example, create any conflicts?
Publishers must make an effort to be in as many places as possible. Habits are changing, but if things are done correctly the various channels are complementary. Everybody needs to present attractive products in different formats. We think the right way to go is to find as many sales channels as possible. Thus we don’t ask publishers for exclusivity. However, there are some who feel more comfortable by participating with us only.
What is your roadmap for the next years? What do you aim to achieve?
This year we want to offer native products (Editor’s note: as opposed to print replicas) and improvements in the digital replicas. We are working on native formats so we can reach other kinds of readers. We, the alliance staff, try to provide solutions to the publishers’ needs. We will also expand our box of tools to help them improve their commercial and marketing strategies. And we will continue to increase our offer by adding more publications.
Our larger ambition is to move more quickly than the market does, and to always have something new to offer to our publishers.