Interview with Twixl Media’s Laurent Gerniers

We caught up with Laurent Gerniers of Twixl Media, to pick his brain for a few insights into the future of Digital Publishing

Liam Handford

Liam Handford

July 24th, 2017 | Reading Time: 6 mins
twixl, laurent gerniers, canvasflow

Canvasflow is delighted to welcome Laurent Gerniers, Marketing Manager of Twixl media, onto the blog to share his thoughts on apps, content creation and the future of digital publishing.

Twixl & Canvasflow Partnership

Twixl is one of the biggest digital publishing platforms around, with hundreds of large clients, and many more smaller ones. Canvasflow’s partnership with Twixl has meant that our integration allows Twixl customers to easily be able to create responsive HTML5 content with no coding required, and in turn still get the vast list of features Twixl provides.

This natural partnership has seen some of the biggest digital content publishers in the world be able to provide top-level content with a shorter and more efficient workflow, and properly serve their mobile users.

Interview with Laurent Gerniers of TwixlMedia

Below you can find the full interview but here’s a list of some of the topics we covered:

 

Laurent, could you give us a brief background to Twixl please?

Of course. Twixl media was part of a company called Lesterius, a software developer and an early adopter of app technology. In fact, we were developing custom iPhone apps way back in 2007, before creating a publishing solution for iPads in 2010. Something we’re quite proud of is that just six months after the release of the original iPad, we had officially launched a tablet publishing tool. From that solid foundation, Twixl then become a standalone company, with its own product, Twixl Publisher.

Over the next few years, Twixl Enterprise Kiosk and Twixl Distribution Platform were launched, with the fourth release of Twixl Publisher which included support for smartphones.

This pedigree and the success of the platform has led to Twixl building partnerships with many of the major players in the graphics industry, as well as a global reseller network. The company is also proud to be an advisor to The Ghent Workgroup which defines best practices for publishing and packaging workflows.

What’s the company’s vision for digital publishing? Where do you see Twixl adding value?

Our number one aim is to provide publishers with the technology which allows them to use their tools of their choice. By this, we mean open technology which is media-neutral, meaning a publisher could use an InDesign file, a CMS output, an HTML file – or even a PDF file, to publish within a native custom app. Our convenient, easy-to-use Distribution Platform is the thing which links everything together; the central management tool.

What publishing challenges does Twixl Publisher help solve?

I think our solution lets the publisher create the content they want to, in the way they want to. We make it as easy as possible by offering a tool to create native apps, that’s to say, it behaves like a mobile app rather than a web app on a smartphone. A web app forces users to use click behaviour so inherently, the user experience isn’t as good. Twixl Publisher eradicates that problem.

What benefits has the Canvasflow integration brought to your business and clients?

The majority of our clients come from a print-orientated background, traditionally using a print-first workflow. They don’t tend to have coding skills in-house and we sense a slight nervousness around HTML5 in general. It’s seen as revolutionary. The Canvasflow integration with Twixl Publisher makes creating responsive, HTML5 content both possible and accessible. Using Canvasflow, they can create a single article or in fact, a whole issue, and push to the Twixl Distribution Platform to publish within their app, all from within one platform, quickly and easily.

What’s the next big thing for Twixl?

We see content personalisation as particularly exciting. There’s a real opportunity here for publishers to be able to understand users’ likes and dislikes, and then bundle together content, based on those preferences. Those combined interests could then form a subscription, which publishers could potentially monetize. That’s exciting!

Where does Twixl see content creation heading over the next 12 months? What are the opportunities/threats from your point of view?

More and more publishers will be receptive to creating HTML5 content, due to the cost savings it brings and the idea that content is the central element, rather than placing emphasis on the output channel. They’ll become more aware of creating content for different platforms, distributing to print, web,mobile, or on social media for example. However, it won’t be an overnight thing. Publishers will need to reorganise and rethink the way in which they currently work.

In terms of opportunities, well, the user has the final word really. Customers are making it clear what they like, what they engage with, and what they don’t like. With the additional data and insight gained, publishers can focus on creating the type of content that resonates with their audiences.

A threat? Focusing on web apps; that might be short-term thinking. We don’t want publishers to make the wrong choice about the type of app they create due to a lack of knowledge.

Which Twixl Publisher 5 powered app have you been the most impressed with this year? Who has really pushed the boundaries of TP5?

The Swarovski app shows what you can do with HTML.

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/app/swarovski-magazine/id486720659

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.swarovskimagazine.android

 

We released Twixl Publisher 5 enabling to publish HTML content in an app next to InDesign and PDF
content last year in June. Laurent to expand They bought their license early in November and a couple of weeks later their app was available in the app stores. They understood the new article-based approach perfectly and created a great magazine with an interesting link between the mobile edition and their website. This magazine is their link with their customers/fanbase.

It’s a great feeling when you develop a new concept with the hope to be successful that out of nowhere a project erupts just in line with what you wanted to achieve.

If you could share five tips to people considering creating an app… what ‘how to succeed’ advice would you share?

OK, here goes. Firstly, it’s vital to define your business model before starting and do this as early as possible. What’s your goal, how do you intend to achieve it, what will make your offer unique,
why will customers want to install your app and keep on using it?

Secondly, don’t’ offer the same content across print, web and mobile – define your unique proposition.

Similarly, your content needs to evolve. Publishers should be providing regular updates and not just content additions, but the interface should evolve too. That ensures the app isn’t allowed to stagnate, and that users are looking forward to updates from the publisher.

Using data insights, publishers should be analysing the performance of their app and using that information to make changes and test different strategies.

Have a strategy in place where you communicate and promote the app at launch and then every time you update, promote again. Give your users a reason to check out your app and come back for more.

Our clients tell us that Canvasflow has allowed them to adopt a continuous publishing workflow which they had previously struggled to integrate. What advice would you give to a publisher or editor who is considering making this move?

This comes back to the idea of having a fixed publication date versus a flexible, responsive approach. I think publishers shouldn’t need to make a choice, they can do both without losing their focus.We’ve seen many instances where publishers have been able to react to breaking news or events with updated content, rather than having to wait for the official publication date.

That’s the advantage of our solution, flexibility! But let’s be clear. Publishing on fixed publishing dates and continuous publishing are two different approaches and business models and create completely different expectations with the readers. The good thing is that publishers are not limited by technology anymore, they can react in either way whenever they feel the need to. With Canvasflow and Twixl Publisher, they have an integrated platform that offers them that flexibility.

 

 

If you’re an existing Twixl Publisher user and would like to learn more about the integration with Canvasflow, sign up for a free trial at www.canvasflow.io/signup or alternatively, book your free one-to-one demo by emailing support@canvasflow.io.


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