Readly, an app that aims to be the Spotify of magazines, has launched in Britain, with more than 120 titles including Marie Claire, The Lady and Time Out available for a single “all-you-can-read” fee of £9.99 a month.
Spotify has won a big following with music fans by charging a monthly subscription and Readly chief executive Per Hellberg believes there is a similar appetite among magazine readers for a one-stop site.
Readly, which was founded in Sweden like Spotify, keeps costs low by using software that automatically copies each page of the print magazine and then produces an exact replica in the app.
“The traditional magazine isn’t broken,” said Mr Hellberg, explaining why the digital version mirrors the print edition and does not have extra interactive or video elements. “The benefit for the publisher is there is no investment. We do all the work for them.”
Mr Hellberg said data from Sweden, where has over 50,000 users, showed the app does not “cannablise” publishers’ sales. Only around 2 per cent of users have been “traditional paper magazine readers”.
The advantage for publishers is they receive additional revenue at a time when print circulation continues to fall, he added.
Publishers receive around 60 to 70 per cent of the subscription revenues, based on the number of page views for each magazine, and they also get in-depth data on usage.
The app can be used on up to five devices per subscription and carries not only the latest issue of each magazine but also back issues.
Leading British publishers such as IPC and Haymarket have made their titles available.