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Who wants to pay for articles and news? Someone? Anyone? It is no secret that online publishing is a tough market. More and more startups that are looking at alternative models of distribution for publishers are finding this out the hard way. Amsterdam startup Maggy just announced that from December 1st it will close its doors. There were not enough paying customers, and the founders could not find a strategic partner to bring the company to the future.
Survival of the fittest
The end of Maggy is the latest chapter in the mostly sad story for Dutch online kiosks. This year already two other, similar startups went belly up. Online kiosk MyJour closed its doors earlier this year, closely followed by the bankrupcy of all-you-can-read platform of eLinea. It’s a tough market where only the fittest survive. So far, this seems to be Blendle which shows no signs of slowing down. The Utrecht based startup seems to be the only one to make the idea of ‘Spotify for articles’ work by growing its userbase, raising capital, scaling up, rolling out internationally and gobbling up a similar initiative PAPER.
Maggy vs. Candy Crush
Maggy was launched in the beginning of this year by entrepreneurs Michael Croll and Rutger Tijkotte, after receiving a funding from the Stimuleringsfonds voor de Pers, which supports innovation of the press. Currently it offers an all-you-can-read subscription that provides access to 40 Dutch magazines. This summer they launched their mobile application for iOS devices. Despite positive feedback from their users, the new app did not bring the success they were looking for. “The competition does not only come from comparable platforms”, explains Michael Croll, founder of Maggy. “It’s mostly from people who’d rather play a game of Candy Crush than read a good story.”
Simmer of hope for Maggy
The last three months the founders realized they could not sustain the company without the help of a strategic partner. Croll: “After several meetings with publishers, printers and press agencies we did not succeed in coming up with a solid plan for the future of Maggy.” Even though the all-you-can-read model will shut down, Maggy might still have a second life, just not as a consumer. “We’re convinced there’s still a lot of potential in Maggy. The past couple of months we noticed there are several possibilities for Maggy on the B2B-market, as a whitelabel platform”, explains Croll. “For publishers it will become increasingly important to use their data in a smart way. This is where we see huge chances, but also equally big challenges.”