PPA Blog

Q & A with Max Barnes, Key Accounts Manager for YumpuNews

By Jess Browne-Swinburne

12 Jan 2021

We spoke with Max Barnes, Key Accounts Manager of YumpuNews and coordinator of the UK roll out, about the evolution of the company, their UK launch and how publishers can sign up.

What made you want to work in publishing?

The team at YumpuNews shares a passion to combine content and technology to provide a responsible news platform to a public that is hungrier than ever for fast, reliable and accurate news and information.

For a long time I have observed social media contribute to the division and polarisation of society. The role of the Publisher in informing the public with accuracy and integrity is arguably more important now than ever before. If, through YumpuNews, I can play a part in spreading the reach of responsibly constructed news and information while in some way diminishing the divisive impact of ‘fake news’ and helping to protect the planet I would consider my day well spent!

Explain the concept behind YumpuNews.

YumpuNews has elevated the reader experience of newspapers and magazines to a new level, combining a digital software e-reading platform (YUMPU) that has been developed and refined over 15 years, with an optimised subscription platform available on iOS/Android app and desktop offering subscribers hundreds of magazine and newspaper titles including regional, national and international news titles along with popular mainstream and highly trusted specialist magazines.

Our aim is to not only provide content that the reader is already interested in, but to stimulate and incubate new interests. Through years of research and development, we have developed technology to bring print pages to life on a mobile device or desktop PC.

YumpuNews isn’t just for reading the headlines and sports results, or even for the latest banana bread recipe or developments in narrow gauge model railways; YumpuNews is a celebration of the magazine and newspaper medium and seeks to replicate the texture of the paper under your fingertips, and the explosion of colour and vibrancy that you feel when you read your favourite title.

Chart the evolution of the company from the start to where it is now.

In 2006, parent company i-Magazine developed YUMPU as a software solution for publishers, companies, governments and individuals to publish print titles online, enabling widespread distribution for a fraction of the price of a physical, printed publication. This YUMPU software powers the titles available on YumpuNews, and the sheer abundance of content already hosted on yumpu.com has led to it being Alexa-ranked in the top 1000 websites worldwide.

What gap in the digital publishing market is YumpuNews addressing?

Providing many of the newspaper and magazine titles one might hope to find in a well-stocked newsstand, within a convenient digital platform for a modest monthly subscription fee is a convenient and environmentally-friendly solution for people with an appetite for content and limited free time. It also provides an easy solution for the Netflix and Spotify generation of digital natives who prefer to browse, stream and subscribe, rather than buy outright.

Digital acceleration, fuelled by convenience and expediency but catalysed by COVID over the last 12 months, has seen a surge in people demanding faster and more accessible news and information.

Furthermore, in this era of ‘fake news’ and social media echo chambers adding to the polarisation of society, people need reliable, balanced and informed journalism – and perhaps a cherished hobby to escape to in times of trouble - more than ever before.

YumpuNews is a responsive solution to these societal trends, whilst also protecting and supporting publishers by providing new audiences, extended reach and a profitable business model with no additional costs whatsoever.

Another solution for publishers delivered by YumpuNews is data. We are able to show publishers who is reading their titles, where they are, which pages they are reading and for how long. Geotagging technology allows us to suggest regional content to subscribers, and the technology underpinning the platform provides many opportunities for ‘Like this? Then why not try this?’ type product sampling. All in all, we aim to allow the publishers to focus on their core interest – the business of publishing great editorial content – while we handle the production, distribution and marketing, saving costs and maximising revenue.

Give some examples of publishers that have used YumpuNews successfully.

YumpuNews launched in German-speaking territories in early 2020 with a strong magazine emphasis and is delivering new audiences and circulation revenues for publishing giants including Bauer and Motorpresse Stuttgart along with single title publishers such as Playboy and Max magazine.

Ahead of the UK launch in February, we estimate to have secured around 90% of the UK’s major newspaper and magazine publishers and are in active discussions with the rest. Our aim is to have the best curated mix of quality and quantity of content, for the most competitive monthly subscription fee.

What plans do you have for the year 2021?

YumpuNews launches in the UK on 1 February and when we are confident that the platform is performing as successfully (or even better) than in Germany then we look forward to spreading the reach of YumpuNews internationally. Many titles are signed up for both German and UK platforms and of course one of the benefits of an online platform is the opportunity for global reach.

Our first priority is to fulfil and exceed the expectations of our two customer sets – the subscriber and the publisher. We are a transparent and open platform offering genuine live content along with back issues, and are not propping up our numbers with a canon of discontinued and unread titles. We will not mislead anyone by reporting embellished and unsubstantiated numbers to falsely entice readers or publishers.

Explain how a publisher can join YumpuNews and the pricing structure behind it?

Send me an email! if you publish paid-for titles (i.e. with a cover price) and would like to offer these on YumpuNews with zero risk and no fees or set-up costs, just a share of subscription revenues heavily weighted in favour of the publisher then please get in touch.

You have recently become associate members of the PPA – how do you hope this membership will benefit your company long term?

The PPA has already been extremely useful in helping with our UK launch. We are a European company and some of the complexities over Brexit in relation to e-publishing (particularly VAT) have been complicated to navigate, but the PPA and in particular Owen Meredith has been extremely helpful in this regard – with our thanks.

What magazine would you stockpile?

Personally I love to sit down and read through old National Geographic magazines. Being a British expat working abroad I also really enjoy BBC History magazines, and reading a fitness magazine counts as going for a workout session right?