How Microsoft is helping to create ‘the newspaper of dreams’

Lindsay James
Lindsay James
By Lindsay James on 19 April 2017
How Microsoft is helping to create ‘the newspaper of dreams’

It’s estimated that by 2017, the average amount of time we spend online each day will be over two hours – an increase of 143% since 2010. Yet we will spend just 14 minutes reading newspapers, a significant drop of 35% in the same time period.

The growing demand for online content puts publishers in a difficult position. To survive and keep their readers, traditional media outlets have no choice but to take the fight to their competitors’ doors. They need to go digital, offering content to readers whenever they want it, on any device. But taking that transformative leap into digital publishing is no easy feat, especially for outlets under pressure to cut costs.

“We recognised how difficult it was for many publishers to take the first step into the digital world,” says Marek Szymczakowski, business development manager at Publico24 – a Polish media company which uses Microsoft’s cloud technology to help publishers go digital while keeping costs down. With Publico24’s online tool, publishers can convert print into digital editions in just a few hours.

“It used to take three days for one of Poland’s most influential weeklies to develop their digital edition,” says Szymczakowski. “But by using our tool, we reduced that time to just three hours. As well as lowering production costs for the publisher, this means the editorial team has more flexibility over the content they include in the final edition. They don’t have to rush the copy through.”

Publico24 currently offers readers more than 60 digital titles, with another 40 on the way by the end of 2017. This represents 10% of the Polish print market, with more international titles keen to join the platform. All publications can be downloaded via the Publico24 app and read offline.

As well as being more convenient for readers, platforms like these also provide an easy way for businesses to entertain their customers on site. A dentist, for example, can set up a digital beacon in their waiting room so patients can access a selection of digital publications through the Publico24 ‘Multikosk’ application.

This is more environmentally friendly than stocking up on print publications, and outlets can easily be added or removed as required. Publico24’s ‘Multikiosk’ is already being used by partners like Warsaw Central Station and Starbucks, with more partnerships in the pipeline.

But publishing a digital edition is just the first step. There’s a lot of competition, and readers simply don’t have the time to sift through huge amounts of content to find what really matters to them. Personalisation is king.

With the Publico24 platform, publishers can comprehensively track their readers’ purchases across different applications, and use that to create personalised recommendations. This year, Publico24 will take this even further by launching a new feature called “The Newspaper of Dreams”. Using an advanced algorithm hosted on the Microsoft cloud, readers can create their very own publication tailored to their habits and interests.

“The Newspaper of Dreams” works by collaborating with publishers, who tag their articles by key search terms such as author, sector, or topic. An FC Barcelona fan could, for example, set up their own personal digital newspaper to get news about their favourite club, right alongside the political analysis they receive from a different publication, alongside reviews of restaurants in their local area. Readers get all the benefits of a legitimate print publication, but with the flexibility that suits their passions and reading habits.

Read more here.

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