Stephens & George

How can a printer work with a digital publisher in a way that doesn't cannibalize their primary product?


Stephens and George are one of the oldest and most prominent names in British print, having celebrated their centennial anniversary in 2012. Based in Wales, they handle the print needs of a wide variety of clients, from magazines and catalogs to books.

The challenge

Stephens and George are one of YUDU’s oldest partners and as such have been through all of technological steps forward, from digital editions to the first iOS apps and beyond. Initially their challenges were quite basic, they were encountering a large volume of customers, particularly from the magazine space (who constitute about 50% of their print work in general), who were interested in browser-based digital editions.

With the development of the iPad, many of these magazine publishers, as well as catalog publishers, started to express interest in what apps could potentially leverage for them and as Android tablets followed suite, so too did the interest in apps on that platform.

Most commonly they encountered customers who simply wanted an idea of what was possible on digital platforms. Customers who had a developed relationship with them as printers and trusted their judgment on what was the right way to step forward in what, for many clients, was uncharted territory.

The solution

We met the needs of Stephens and George initially with our Flash-based browser delivery service. Stephens and George were particularly interested in our DRM functionality, as their own magazine clients sold either subscriptions, single editions or both and wanted a way to lock these down in a digital form. We gave them piece of mind as well as an easy an intuitive way for many of them to migrate existing subscribers over to our subscriber database through API integration.

As we were quick off the mark with developing our own iOS and Android solutions, this allowed them to offer their customers a way of getting their magazines and catalogs onto hugely successful new devices built with e-reading in mind. As these customers have become more acclimatized to tablet publishing, they’ve in turn required more extensive feature-support, such as categories within the app, that YUDU have been on-hand to develop and provide.

Most recently, we’ve been able to help Stephens and George offer clients a browser-based solution, PageTiler, that displays across all platforms by responding to whatever the device is and triggering either a HTML or Flash-based reader depending upon what is most appropriate. This is something that for many print clients, again particularly in the magazine space, is an entry-level product, allowing them to gauge receptiveness to the concept of digital publishing as it relates to their own particular niche and move forward based on that response.

Stephens and George have been able to react quickly to new changes in technology and the emergence of new platforms because we have been there to provide them with an extensive and growing products and services portfolio whenever the map of digital publishing is disrupted.