Zondervan, a Christian publisher, announced last week that they had sold Symtio. They did not say who was buying the company, but Symtio is now showing on their About page that they’re owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Absent a formal announcement, I don’t really know that News Corp bought Symtio, but I think they did.
UPDATE: I still don’t know who bought Symtio, but I can tell you that it wasn’t News Corp. Someone clued me in on the fact that News Corp _owns_ Zondervan, so they’re actually the seller, not the buyer.
Symtio are a rather odd beast. They’re an ebook distributor with a platform designed to work in Christian brick and mortar book stores. The stores sold a small card (I assume that the card has an activation code). The customer would buy the card, then visit Symtio’s website and activate the ebook. At peak there were just over 500 participating Christian bookstores.
Zondervan sold Symtio because “we recognize there is a broader audience for Symtio, and we are not as well-equipped as other digital-content specialists to meet the rapidly changing needs of the market.” Now that’s interesting. I wonder how News Corp is going to expand on this platform (textbooks, perhaps)?
Bitway announced yesterday that they were investing $750k in Crunchyroll, an online video service focused on Japanese anime and Asian entertainment. Bitway is planning to share their experience in distributing digital manga and build a comic-distribution platform overseas, with an emphasis on the United States and Canada.
Footnote: I’m not sure that dollar amount is correct. According to my source (and Google translate), Bitway invested 75 million, but I can’t tell if that is Japanese yen or dollars. I believe it to be yen, which is ~$821k.
From the press release:
Zinio, the leader in digital-publishing technology and services, today announced two opportunities to increase distribution for publishers: branded applications and print/digital subscription bundling. These services enable Zinio’s offering of over 2,500 consumer magazine titles and thousands of books, including 829 new consumer titles that joined in the first quarter alone, to bring the world’s largest newsstand directly to the fingertips of reading enthusiasts. Following several earlier announcements surrounding the success of the ZINIO UNITY™ platform, including the top-10 ranked free Zinio for iPad/iPhone apps, these recent efforts explore new ways to introduce unique channels digitally for publishers, advertisers and their consumers.
Long story short: Zinio have expanded beyond their digital magazine platform and is now going to help publishers release their magazines as stand alone apps. Zinio are also offering a new print/digital bundling option.