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Mustering strength,
revamping e-newspapers

With the third generation of information technology, the concept of e-newspaper is getting new strength in the news publishing industry. Industry leading players such as iRex, SoliDAM and DigiNewsPress are technologically committed to facilitate this growth, providing innovative products not only for improving the quality of e-newspapers but also making them easy-to-read that would result increase in demand for e-editions of papers and benefit to publishers. Ajeet Singh, assistant editor, All About Newspapers briefs.

Digital delight! A reader taking an unparalleled digital reading experience

Initially, online newspapers were not deemed as challenge but complimentary to the print media and many publishers were not showing interest to be online. But the constantly increasing number of exclusive e-newspapers and direct challenge from mushroomingly emerging radio and TV news channels compelled all to inevitably be on-line. Resultantly, while in 1994, less than ten newspapers were available on web, now thousands of newspapers have become online globally. The WAN’s World Press Trends 2008 report says that the number of newspaper on-line sites grew +13.77 percent in 2007 and +50.77 percent over the five years from 2003. A study in the US finds out that newspaper website users also read the print edition: 81 percent of online newspaper readers also read a printed newspaper at least once a week.

Live demo organised by
iRex during Ifra Expo'08
in Amsterdam.

Recognising the trend and its inherent capacity to generate revenues and get stability in the competition, in India too, not only English but also various vernacular newspapers are dispersing news on-line to remain their readers up-to-date with the most recent happenings occurring in the concerned regions, nation or world over.

Now, when e-newspaper has undertaken around two decades long journey and the third generation of information technology is poised to take news industry to the next level, a vexing question is: where e-newspapers stand presently. In his recently presented paper - E-newspapers: revolution or evolution? - Deniz Bokesoy tried to illustrate it, and concluded, “An overview of the history and current state of e-newspapers in regards to design, interactivity and content reveals that these are at the beginning of their life as a medium. In regards to their design, e-newspapers have not yet found a balance between the freedom and guidance they offer to their readers, as well as their attractiveness and ease-to-use as an online product. A similar balance is needed between the levels of interactivity and editorial quality. The ability to provide fast and easy access to news is one of their largest advantages over print medium, but it also has to be in balance with credibility and editorial quality. Only then, e-newspapers can mature and offer a unique identity of their own. Although its use is rapidly growing, considering the multidimensional maturing process, it is reasonable to expect that their impact in the news industry will be an evolutionary, rather than a revolutionary one.” Through their state-of-the-art products, the companies such as iRex, SoliDAM and DigiNewsPress are relentlessly striving to bring those sorts of balances in producing of e-newspapers what have been pointed out by Deniz.

iRex DR 1000 series

Recently, a leading provider of e-reading solutions, Netherlands based iRex Technologies, has opened a new chapter in digital reading with the launch of the iRex 1000 series Digital Reader. The iRex suite of e-reading products is growing steadily following the success of the iLiad and iLiad Book Edition amongst the consumer market.

Now, with the iRex DR1000, apart from accessing to all their business documents anytime, anywhere, one can access their favourite business newspapers and key industry news at the same time as making a powerful positive contribution to the environment.

With the world consuming over 300 million tonnes of paper annually, the potentials of receiving and reading newspaper electronically are huge, but until now devices available in the market only offered a few titles and the restrictions of their small screen size have caused headaches for publishers wishing to replicate the newspaper experience for the digital consumer. The iRex DR1000 developed with the business market in mind offers much larger display allowing full page PDF files and now e-newspapers to retain their original look and feel and layout thereby offering the reader an unparalleled digital reading experience.

The company offered an environmental Christmas present with the announcement of a deal to offer over 800 newspapers from 81 countries on their new iRex Digital Reader 1000 series. In partnership with NewspaperDirect, the world leader in multi-channel newspaper and magazine content distribution and monetization, they will create an offering which will dwarf the current ranges on offers with other e-readers. The stable of titles available include The Daily Telegraph, Independent, Observer, The Guardian, The London Evening Standard plus a huge range of European and international titles including Le Figaro, Die Welt, NRC Handelsblad, The Wall Street Journal, Gulf News, The Straits Times and The Sunday Times of Johannesburg.

“Today publishers understand that their newspapers and magazines need to be available to readers anywhere, anytime, any way they want to read them. It is why NewspaperDirect is committed to ensuring all content of its publishing partners is available on all the latest devices like the iRex DR1000,” said Alexander Kroogman, CEO of NewspaperDirect.

iRex Technologies BV have been instrumental in pushing the frontiers of digital reading since 2001 when their team developed the electronic paper display for the Sony Librié the first commercially available e-reader launched in 2004. Following the formation of iRex Technologies in 2005 as a spin-off company from Royal Philips Electronics their focus on open innovation and co-operation has seen them become the world’s leading provider of solutions for reading written digital content with the ease and comfort of print on paper.

SoliDAM provides standard and custom made software solutions in the area of archiving, and asset management, apart from plateroom management and distributed print management for newspaper publishers. The company’s Callisto system automates the flow from production PDF into multi channel e-paper with a minimum of effort and costs. While the published edition is being made ready for print, this can prepare all the other media channels. In its latest version, NITF support, a full Webportal for Flash and HTML and automated conversion from page- to article-level (clipping) have been added. Their Telesto, a powerful PDF & Tiff toolbox especially designed for newspaper and magazine publishers, can even use information in the filename to automate the processes. While their Euporie provides all the functionality needed to produce newspapers or similar products.

DigiNewsPress offers instant solutions to print favourite newspaper fresh at any location in the world, with their innovative products: Client software, enabling one in just minutes to print a newspaper of over 150 different newspapers; and A3 print solution, enabling one to print up to 500 copies a day. Besides, Sony (e-Render), Amazon (Kindle) and Plastic Logic (e-Book Reader) have also come up to facilitate e-reading smooth and comfortable.

With these developments, newspaper publishers would be benefited directly or circuitously as the demand for e-edition of newspapers would surge apace when readers shall get them easy-to-read. So, it is right ime not only to initiate this trend but also to upgrade e-newspapers and take advantages for all those who are still considering being on-line.


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