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March 24, 2016

Spotify for magazines Readly cuts UK subscription price

By John Reynolds

Sweden-based Readly is cutting the subscription price of its Spotify-style product for digital magazines in the UK, as it looks to drive up customer numbers.

Like Spotify, Readly, which originally launched in Sweden in 2012, offers readers unlimited downloads of digital magazines as a subscription service.

Readly, which launched in the UK in 2014, is now cutting its monthly subscription from £9.99 to £7.99 in an effort to woo more customers.

Readly does not disclose overall UK subscription numbers, but said that subscriber numbers have nearly doubled between 2014 and 2015.

Ranj Begley, Readly UK’s managing director, said: “We have managed to grow so quickly because of our scale and our single-minded focus on digital – things that most individual publishers find difficult to achieve on their own. 

“We have spent a lot of promotional money building our brand.  We also have a wide range of magazines in our inventory which makes the service very attractive to the consumer when it is offered in an all-you-can-read payment model.

"For a magazine enthusiast, £9.99 a month for unlimited digital reading is an absolute no-brainer.  Yet we now want to go beyond that core market to target what we call the Entertainment Junkie. These people tend to subscribe to more than one stream of entertainment – many are using services such as Sky, Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime in parallel.”

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Other facts released by Readly include that 82 percent of the issue downloaded are  current issues, with 18 percent back issues; and that subscribers are spending an average of over 5 hours reading time per month. 

Readly is also developing its service in an attempt to make it more consumer friendly. Unlike before, consumers can now search by top for specific articles across the whole magazine inventory.

The Readly app offers access to PDF-style page-turning digital editions of magazines – with active weblinks if readers are online.

Readly takes 30 per cent of sales and shares the remainder of the revenue with publishers according to how much time readers spend with each publication.

Subscriber names are not shared with publishers, but Readly does offer in-depth anonymised analytics which include demographic information.

There is no up-front cost for publishers and Readly claims that typically there is a two per cent cross over between those who access titles on the new app and existing readers.

Some 80 publishers representing 3,000 titles are said to have signed up to Readly in Sweden and the US.

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