As readers increasingly shift from the printed word to online space for content, publishing firms are looking for new and creative ways to keep their readers engaged.
Innovation: Ez-Flip digital reader for websites
Year founded: 2008
On the web: www.wicow.com
Location: 125 N. Prairie Drive, Oconomowoc
Oconomowoc-based Wicow has created an online Flash-based digital reader that allows the reader to absorb online content as if he or she were actually reading a book, magazine or catalog.
“Even though the EZ-Flip is online, the pages can be turned one-by-one, which gives the reader the familiar feeling of reading a book,” said Andy Anderson, director of sales and marketing for Wicow. “However, the additives available with the EZ-flip offer so many more opportunities than a traditional print publication, which is a great way for companies to generate additional revenue.”
Wicow can take adobe PDF files of a company’s newsletter, special publication, quarterly reports or even catalogs and convert them into the EZ-Flip online format to be stored in a secure permanent location, Anderson said.
Harrisburg, Pa.-based PageTurnPro has offered a similar product.
In 2008, Wicow established the EZ-Flip product. Wicow could become a formidable competitor of the much-larger PageTurnPro.
According to Anderson, Wicow’s lead developer, Jimmie Dahlstroem can add active links, animation and even video to a publication’s EZ-Flip reader.
“The best thing about it being a digital publication that feels like a print copy, is that we have the ability to add extra interactive components to keep the reader engaged,” Dahlstroem said. “We can draw attention to specific advertisements by making them animated; we can add video components or simply make website links within the body of the text active.”
The possibilities are endless, and each publication is customized for each company, Anderson said.
“We can adjust the publications to fit their needs and the needs of their advertisers,” Anderson said. “Companies pay us a one-time fee to convert their PDF files into the EZ-Flip format, but then they can generate additional revenue by selling the ad space or selling the animations within the publication as well. It’s a revenue generating mechanism for a lot of firms.”
The EZ-Flip reader is applicable for a variety of different industries and the reader can be produced using any content, Anderson said.
“We have done everything from inventory catalogs to a photographer’s portfolio,” Anderson said. “It’s an easy, convenient way to display any type of publication.”
Wicow hosts all EZ-Flip publications on a secure server and then sends the link to its customer for display, Anderson said.
Dahlstroem also has integrated analytic capabilities into the EZ-Flip reader, which allows a company to identify how long individual readers spend on a particular page, what they clicked on and where in the world they are viewing the reader from.
“It’s a great way to differentiate the EZ-Flip from a traditional print magazine,” Dahlstroem said. “You can’t track a physical publication. You can track who’s reading the EZ Flip version of your publication and that becomes a valuable tool for a lot of our customers.”
The fee to produce an EZ-Flip publication is dependent on the number of pages in a publication and the amount of links, videos or animated files that are added to the document. The price can range anywhere from $100 to $500, Anderson said.
The EZ-Flip is a Flash-developed product and does not function with Android smartphones, iPhones, of the Apple iPad. However, Dahlstroem said Wicow is developing a similar product that would function with these products.
“It gives companies another way to differentiate themselves from their competition,” Anderson said. “Things are really starting to pick up for us and it’s because more and more people are looking to the online space to generate more revenue for their company. EZ-Flip is a fast effective way for them to do that.”