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Peekster, A Shazam For Print Media, Launches In The U.S. At Disrupt NY

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编辑: 1   作者: Techcrunch   时间: 2018/12/6 20:28:09  

It may surprise you?but print media isn't dead yet. Hell - some people even like reading ink off of pulped tree. And that curious fact is something?U.K. startup Peekster is intending?to cash in on - with an app (yes, it's still an app) that?links offline?reading habits with online socializing and sharing habits to please old school readers and publishers alike.

We've covered this startup before, as a graduate of last year's?Wayra UK accelerator intake. But today Peekster is strutting its stuff on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt NY in?our battlefield competition, and has just announced it's launching its app?in the U.S. today.

Peekster's U.S. launch publications are the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, which join the six existing?U.K. publications (The Times, Independent, Metro, The Guardian, the London Evening Standard and City AM) already supported by the app.

Users of Peekster?who like to read these learned journals in dead tree form will be able to whip out their smartphone and digitally 'clip' an article from the paper edition they're reading by scanning a few words from the?headline or first paragraph.

When I say?'clip' - which Peekster calls tagging - I mean the app will locate the digital version of the article a user is?reading so they can share it online with their social networks, or save it for later reading (Peekster?integrates with read-it-later services such as?Pocket and Instapaper for that). In other words, the app enables a newspaper reader to connect their offline reading with their online identity and networks.

The iOS app uses optical character recognition to figure out what the iPhone's camera is pointing at and?point the user to the correct online article. Where a publication's content is not currently being linked to?within the app, Peekster will suggested related similar articles based on the words the user scanned - so you can use it as a related content discovery engine too, if you wish.

On the discoverability front, the app also curates a real-time list of popular tags - based on what the community of Peekster users is scanning. So its pitch to?publishers is that it can also help bring in new readers, as well as linking their offline readers to their online content.

To be clear, Peekster says it is?not maintaining a database of publishers' content itself (to avoid any copyright issues). It's either looking at a publication's RSS feed to locate the content a user is after, or doing a web search, says co-founder Tine Hamler. Although he adds that?it does do some headline and URL indexing to speed up internal searches.

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Since there's no database to build out, the only real reason for Peekster limiting the number of publications whose content is accessible within its app?is on?business model grounds. Ultimately it's hoping to be able to persuade a sub-set of publishers to pay for the privilege of having their content in front of Peekster's audience.

But to do that, it needs a sizeable enough audience to encourage publishers' to pay - so this chicken/egg is?not there?yet.

Peekster needs some content to get readers interested of course - hence it's starting by offering?a limited selection of mainstream?publishers' content without them having to pay it, in the?hopes that the ability to locate their content will help it amass enough?users to get other publishers interested in paying to get content accessible within the app. (This is one of the reasons it's focused on adding free newspapers in the U.K., says Hamler, owing to the potential volume of readers that brings in.)

Peekster is not currently breaking out app user numbers - but the app only launched last November so that's not too surprising. Hamler says its active weekly user percentage is around 15% and that's also something it will need to ramp up if it's to make itself attractive enough to get publishers to pay.?The startup itself was founded in May 2013, on selection by Wayra U.K.

That's its only funding to date too. Now, post-Wayra, Hamler says it's looking to raise a half a million dollar seed round and is currently meeting with investors - with the hopes of being able to close the round in about four months.

In the future publishers will need to advertise their content - not just their brand, but also the content; the articles themselves