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Z-Pass: Digital Publishing’s Economic and Technological Disruption

by Jeanniey Mullen

Over the past weeks we have used this column to present the possibilities of digital publishing. We’ve given you reasons to discover content. We’ve presented the business case for digital publishing. But to be completely honest we’ve always known that digital publishing needs an economic and technological disruption. I think we have it.

It’s called Z-Pass. It’s a new, convenient way to receive your digital magazines through a membership model. A basic Z-Pass membership includes three titles of your choice, delivered automatically to your Zinio account on a month-to-month basis often at a flat rate of $5 per month. It hasn’t existed before and it will change the way you buy and read magazines. Before I give you the details, lets look at why it’s disruptive.

From a content perspective this meets the concept of discovery perfectly. We’ve always felt that Zinio’s breadth of titles across countries and archives makes it the best platform to take a risk on content. We’ve shown you over the last weeks that New Zealand has a great parenting magazine. The British GQ is edgier than its American counterpart. If you’re casually interested in American history, there are a lot of magazines that can intrigue you further. You may not normally read National Geographic or Conde Nast Traveler but for the summer vacation it might be exactly what you want. You may not go for a $19.99 subscription. But you would go for $5 a month. You could spend that in a minute at Starbucks.

Let’s look from an economic perspective. Publishers need readers and revenue. They have created a lot of both by moving on to digital publishing, but they haven’t been focused on a membership model, for the most part. Digital publishing is about being agile technologically and reactive from a content perspective. That’s why Z-Pass is the perfect solution at the perfect time. It is the perfect intersection of publishing needs and consumer needs. Publishers are ready to launch new products and special issues. Z-Pass enables to that from a central platform. Consumers don’t have to visit multiple apps and multiple websites to keep up with content. And they can spend on the fly.

I also think it works because it’s cross-platform. Zinio and Z-Pass work on iOS, Android and Windows 8. It works on PCs, smartphones and tablets. To start signing up for Z-Pass, to zpass.zinio.com and click the Get Started button under the Z-Pass banner located at the bottom of the page. The option to purchase Z-Pass can currently be found on beta.zinio.com. However, all purchases made through our website will be viewable using any one of the compatible Zinio Apps.

While signing up for your initial Z-Pass, you will be able to browse through available titles under within the Browse Z-Pass Catalog By Category box. Z-Pass members can choose up to three titles per month for a flat rate of $5.00 per month. Additional issues and premium titles will incur an additional, monthly cost. The first charge for your membership will occur 30 days after signing up for Z-Pass with further billing cycles occurring subsequently every 30 days. You can add titles to your Z-Pass by visiting your Z-Pass Settings page. Basic add-ons can be added for only a $1.50/month and premium titles can be added for up to $9.99 for each additional title you would like. In this initial stage, we have selected a small number of our more popular titles to include in the Z-Pass bundle. Please stay tuned as more of your favorite titles become available as Z-Pass grows from the current 200 most popular titles to more of Zinio’s 5,500 global magazine catalog. Just this past weekend, Zinio added 50 more US titles and are adding popular international titles this week. Z-Pass is currently only available in the US and purchase-able on www.zpass.zinio.com. In July, Z-Pass will be available on Zinio’s international newsstands and Z-Pass purchases will be able to be made on mobile devices.

Z-Pass is not meant to isolate this small number of titles however. It is meant to kickstart digital publishing and take down any barriers left between consumer and their favorite content. And it’s meant to continue to have your next favorite magazine always with you at the click of a button.