Paris-based startup, LeKiosk, has taken the concept of a physical newsstand and transferred it online. Offering a variety of publishers across genres, ‘a Spotify of the magazine world’ if you will, they have already been touted as the top Apple app for 2011. “The world’s first 3-D newsstand” is designed to offer users the chance to peruse content in a visual and simplified manner, eliminating ownership of physical versions yet still offering the chance to save the content. The UK version of the app actually provides a version of a British-style newsstand with a virtual way to scroll through available titles in a simulated version of the real life experience.
Having already cornered the market in France with an astonishing 500,000 downloads (1 out of every 3 iPad in France), they’ve since expanded to the UK and Italy with an additionally 200,000 downloads. Their conversation rate from free to paid purchase sits healthily: 1000,000 have paid and 30,000 have committed to subscriptions (access to up to 10 magazines per month for 10 Euros). Working with publishing giants including Conde Nast, Dennis and the BBC, LeKiosk works across Android and iOS with a Windows 8 app on the way.
Criticism has arisen over the ‘animated gimmick’ of the newsstand feature including what appears to be just a scrollable PDF of the magazine’s pages. Yet, like every new product to market there is still time to adjust and develop through careful community considering. What can’t be disputed is that with generous Series B funding there is evident confidence from VCs that this LeKiosk has a future – accessing content via tablet screens, could anything go wrong?