Prss, a Netherlands-based startup that has developed a digital magazine publishing platform for the iPad, has been acquired by Apple, according to a report by the Dutch-language site iCulture.
The Prss platform was born out of TRVL, a digital travel magazine designed for the iPad, created by entrepreneur Michel Elings and writer/photographer Jochem Wijnands. TRVL quickly won widespread accolades after launching, including a 2011 award for Best Magazine App Ever and the Next Web Conference's 2012 Dutch Startup Award.
The success of the digital magazine led the founders to launch Prss, a second venture focused on the underlying publishing platform for TRVL. Released in 2013, the Prss app is designed to help people without coding knowledge design appealing magazines for the iPad. Details about the reported sale were not disclosed, and neither Apple nor Prss has yet responded to our requests for comment.
From Utrecht to Palo Alto
As part of the acquisition, Apple has brought on board several employees of Prss, according to the report in iCulture. The site added that Prss founder Michel Elings had posted on Twitter earlier this year to say he was relocating to Palo Alto.
The TRVL app has proved highly popular on the Apple App Store, with an average customer rating of five stars. Updated with a new issue every Wednesday, the TRVL magazine has been downloaded by more than 1.5 million users. The digital magazine also was singled out for attention during Apple CEO Tim Cook's 2012 keynote address at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference.
Digital Publishing Disruption
The addition of Prss would extend Apple's digital publishing capabilities. It already offers iBooks Author, a free-to-download app that lets users create and publish digital books for iPads and Mac computers.
The ever-growing ease with which authors and small publishers can publish digital content and print-on-demand content has meant massive disruption for the traditional publishing market. Research from Mequoda last year found that 23 percent of tablet owners already preferred digital magazines over their print counterparts.
Adobe's State of Mobile Benchmark report, released in the second quarter of 2013, indicated that the number of readers using digital publishing apps had grown by 200 percent between August 2012 and February 2013. And a report on digital advertising from PricewaterhouseCoopers predicted that global advertising spending in that area would rise from $2.4 billion in 2012 to $3.8 billion by 2017.
The publishing sector that’s been feeling the greatest pain with the rise of digital, however, has been newspapers. Numerous print newspapers have ceased publication since Internet use became mainstream, and the survivors continue to struggle and search for new revenue models. According to eMarketer, print newspaper ad revenues are expected to decline from $19.12 in 2012 to $16.4 billion in 2016.