Launched with an attempt to change the misconception that content on the internet is free and no one wants to pay for it, Patterbuzz is an iPAD app for consumers to “discover” premium “unbundled” content enabled with “micro-payments” to pay only for what they wish to read in a “rich, enhanced and interactive” way.
The app enables users to “discover premium and exclusive content” among the news & noise, allowing users to buy content on the go. For example: Why not pay as low as INR 2 / $0.02 for a single article instead of buying complete issue for INR 100 / $2 ? With Patterbuzz, users get to consume “editorially” and algorithmically “curated & unbundled” content.
“We know that news is free but long form articles are still being paid for in form of magazines, journals, periodical subscriptions. We enable people to buy single article rather than buying the complete issue of a magazine or buy a subscription,” says Founder & CEO, Patterbuzz.
The two important trends i.e. a) People are interested in reading magazines but only few articles, may be cover stories. b) People are increasing consuming content on mobile devices. It is a given fact that content consumption on mobile phones is growing manifold. But most of the content is news or noise. Premium magazine content is getting lost somewhere in this transitional phase. Print is on the decline as people are interested in digital formats due to one major reason : Easy to buy and carry unlimited content for reading. Print magazines are highly priced due to the nature of exclusive & premium content but people do not see value in paying Rs 100/- just to read one or two articles. This is where the idea of selling single articles from the magazines came in i.e. pay for what you wish to read.
Thus the app was not only to encourage more and more reading and purchases but also to allow one to take it anywhere with, read it in an interactive format. “It’s like best of both print and digital worlds.”
Each publisher can preview the content on the iPAD before publishing. It also has facility of integrating with Publisher’s in house backend systems too.
The user does not need to register an account to make a purchase or read anything. And even if the user uninstalls the app and installs it again on the same device, he’ll get his purchases back. It has also developed a reading layout engine which takes care of rendering of articles. Adding on, it also provide analytics on user behavior to the publishers.
Users do not need to pay every time they wish to read a paid article. They just need to top up their Patterbuzz Digital wallet to buy Patteruzz credits and go on reading by spending their credits. They also earn more credits for their actions inside the app. For example : from time to time, they can earn credits for liking or rating an article. and these credits can be used for purchasing more content.
Currently, the app is running an offer for everyone who registers an account with them gets $10 worth of credits, which is 1000 PB credits free and they can buy any content with those credits and there are other offers too.
What about the other players?
At the global scale, it’s some large publishers doing it on their own, but no one has tried bringing everyone together on one platform. There are companies like Magzter & Zinio who are just a marketplace of selling magazine subscriptions in traditional way by making PDF replica of print available online and then there is other extreme like Flipboard on a global platform which is a glorified aggregator / RSS reader.
“Now, if you take any publisher from India and ask them if they make money from any of these platforms, they’ll straight forward answer in a negative. The reason is simple; PDF is hard to read on mobile devices and flipboard works only with free content and that too with publishers who have technologically advanced publishing backend systems,” added Amit.
Monetizing the Platform
The platform is generating revenue from every transaction. Essentially, it’s a revenue share model but then, it is also trying to work out various strategies with publishers. As Magazines publishes exclusive content, readers pay for it now and will pay for it in future.
It has signed up about 22 publishers with their 35 magazines live on its platform. Within a couple of months, it plans to touch a 100 magazines on the platform.
Launch on the other platforms
The app is currently, available on iPAD first on purpose. Its iPhone version will be out by end of May 2014. And around the same time, it will be releasing Windows 8 Desktop, Windows Surface and Windows Phone application too.
The iPAD app was launched in a private beta in December 2013 and after collecting feedback from a few hundred users, the app was reworked and was released again on March 25th. Since launch, it has acquired a decent number of app downloads, with almost 90% of the users who downloaded app purchasing articles more than once. “This is a critical time for our user acquisition, but we are deliberately running slow in acquiring more readers so as to make sure that the user experience does not suffer, said Amit.