For better or worse, internet based content is increasingly taking over from traditional forms of media. As Netflix has done for TV and Spotify has done for music, so start-up company Readbug intends to do for magazines – and to get up and running, they are currently looking for equity investors on Seedrs.

The publishing sector has had an increasingly tough time finding their place in the digital world, with both authors and publishers losing out to e-books as well as Amazon’s ruthless price model. However, the team behind Readbug thinks the solution lies in a subscription based model that will revolutionise the sector -according to founder Matthew Hammett, a former designer with Future plc, “Readbug is the Spotify for magazines”.

“We convert all our content so it’s mobile friendly… We’re adding a buy-it-now function so the reader can — at the end of an article or a magazine — decide to purchase the magazine there and then,” Hammett told TechCrunch.

By downloading the app, users can browse magazines, flick from cover-to-cover, select their favourite titles, scroll through their personalised article stream – all for one monthly subscription set at £9.99, the same as Spotify. Overall, it will encourage magazine readership, especially of more indie titles such as Dazed and Oh Comely – by removing the per issue pay wall barrier our members have the freedom to read as much or as little as they like.

The target market is huge, with the potential for serious growth. Netflix have consistently delivered strong results and now has over 70 million subscribers across the world, with Spotify delivering to an even bigger audience of 75 million. The consumer magazine market is worth £2.8 billion per annum in the UK and £50.2 billion worldwide – and so far, it hasn’t been tapped into with a subscription app.

So far, Readbug is well on its way; it has global content agreements with 60 publishers and hit number 66 in the US App Store News rankings. It also has strong relationships with commercial partners, such as The Hospital Club and select universities.

The success of Spotify and Netflix show that for apps such as these, pulling in the revenue is easy using a combination of advertising, partnerships and Sponsorship and commercial licenses. Readbug currently have a crowdfunding page open on Seedrs, where they are looking for £500,016 in return for 12.5 percent equity. For further information on how to get involved, visit their crowdfunding page here.


Miranda Wadham on 27/11/2015 
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