Twip, a Leven technology company that distributes digital newspapers on a shared platform, is set to celebrate its tenth anniversary this fall. Meanwhile, it is gradually making its way into the United States. “It takes a lot of gospel and faith, but we are optimistic.”
This fall, Twip blows out ten candles. Founder Danny Lean created the platform a year after the launch of the iPod. “I saw the potential of a site where publishers work together to distribute their newspapers on digital devices,” he says.
This fall, Twip blows out ten candles. Founder Danny Lean created the platform a year after the launch of the iPod. “I saw the potential of a site where publishers work together to distribute their newspapers on digital devices,” he says. In the early years, Leven worked primarily with De Standard. Foreign countries, including the Netherlands, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, soon made the call. “In those countries, the needs of publishers and readers are often the same,” explains Matthew Dubois, Twip’s production head. The ball began to roll when Oyster-France wanted the digital evening version. “It took time, but Oyster-France became our gateway to the French market, including Le Monte and Le Parisian.” Readers download 15 million digital versions of the platform each month. As a result, newspapers such as the Oyster-France, Le Mont and The Telegraph increased subscription revenue and readership. TWIP also provides publishers with analytics to help their readers better understand how they use their product. Twip’s technology clarifies how they can customize content very efficiently. “Publishers pay on stage through a software-service-service model (SASS). We were one of those who did this,” says Danny Lean. For Twip, the shift in focus from the local to the international market was a turning point. “We learned how to position ourselves as a technology provider,” says Dana Nastes, head of business development (see the box “The Truth Is Still There”). “Even though the requirements are the same, the markets are completely different. For example, Germany has a strong culture of subscriptions, while not so in the UK – think about the popularity of free evening newspapers. The biggest challenges are differences. Internationalization is an incredible potato.” Twip doesn’t have to be afraid of competition from other tech players as well. “We have to be ten times better at convincing publishers,” Danny Lean explains. “We have two big strengths. The first is our agility. With our 35 employees, we’re relatively small, we’m used to working flexibly. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says there’s always one thing today. There are many more discoveries. It has a stimulating effect. Our second trump card is the proximity to KU Levan, where we have already conducted various research projects. The technology company has already provided three times the Twip Fund from its Digital News Initiative Fund. The Louvre-based company actively invests in machine learning and artificial intelligence to understand readers’ preferences and improve their reading experience. One of the projects is digital butler James. “It’s hard to identify which articles are most relevant to which reader,” Dana Nastes explains. “Machine learning and artificial intelligence will help. We have also increased reader engagement.” Meanwhile, other publishers such as NRC Handelspot and The Daily Mail also use these methods to customize newsletters for their readers. “Developing habits and consistent behaviors are important for publishers to build a sustainable subscription business,” Nastes said. Meanwhile, Twip has also moved to the United States. “Half of the people who come to our blog are from the United States,” says Danny Lean. “We found interest in our business and started distributing interviews three years ago to see if our product was right for that market.” A year later, Twip left for a roadshow. “We offered our solutions to twelve publishers, and it wasn’t easy because America was a completely different market,” Lean says. “Digital versions do not attract much attention because they are seen as an important place. We had to show them the future of the platform with successful examples from Europe.” The mother of that publishing group with 24 newspaper headlines is the owner of House Reddit. “Advance Local wants to attract new readers with innovative products. This requires a lot of gospel and confidence, but we are confident. Once upon a time, Europe was at the forefront of America.” 9 of the 24 newspapers are now on stage. “A newspaper is added every two weeks. That’s a tough pace.”