Smartphones, tablets and laptops have revolutionised the way people consume news, but staying up to date while at sea has traditionally posed a problem - that is, until PressReader got involved. As the company's chief commercial officer Igor Smirnoff explains, PressReader Offline offers an easy and eco-friendly way to keep up with the news while on the currents.
With more than seven billion mobile devices on the planet, the world has become a hyper-connected, social community. Today, half of all Americans say they'd struggle to last a day without their smartphones; 13% said they wouldn't last an hour. Most of them regularly access news over mobile networks, with newspapers being their primary source for local news.
So when cruise lines asked these mobile millennials to ditch their devices for deck chairs, they created a major barrier to boarding. To give passengers what they want, operators started offering local Wi-Fi, mobile games and applications on board, including the largest full-content digital news stand - PressReader Offline.
PressReader Offline is a digital news service that allows cruise operators to download, usually overnight, to a local server a selection from PressReader's catalogue of 2,500-plus full-content newspapers and magazines from 100 countries in 60 languages, including top-tier publications such as: the Washington Post; the Guardian; Le Monde; The Globe and Mail; The Australian; Mainichi Shimbun; T3; ELLE; O, The Oprah Magazine; Men's Health; and Marie Claire.
Using the PressReader app, passengers can browse the latest publications over the ship's Wi-Fi, download favourites to their iOS or Android tablets or smartphones and read them at their leisure.
"The wealth of titles makes it easy for ships to customise a library of 15-20 publications that caters to their passengers," said Igor Smirnoff, chief commercial officer at PressReader. "Some choose titles based on the country and language of guests; others allow passengers to suggest titles to personalise the experience even more. A number also download publications from the crew's home countries on a separate server, helping to improve crew welfare."
PressReader Offline can also host the ship's daily newsletters and brochures, making a passenger's mobile device their one-stop shop for everything they need to know about the ship, its amenities, activities, services and entertainment programmes.
PressReader worked closely with Silversea Cruises to develop the perfect news app for its clientele.
"We listened to our guests, and set out to create a product that would deliver current and relevant news to their personal devices," said Jason Cohn, director of IT infrastructure for Silversea Cruises. "In the past, we could only print 'reader's digest' summaries of the news. With PressReader, our passengers now enjoy full-content newspapers and magazines from around the world. It's convenient, easy-to-use and much more eco-friendly."
According to Smirnoff, "The IT infrastructure needed to support these massive floating cities can be complex, so working with Silversea's team really helped us make PressReader more adaptable to unique environments. Today, the process from the initial download to configuration, testing, staff training and release of PressReader ship-wide takes less than a month."
In addition to helping cruise lines attract more mobile millennials, PressReader also helps generate new revenue and cross-promotional opportunities. The application supports up to six sponsored screens that can be updated daily and presented to guests when launching the app or downloading an issue. These branded ads can be used to market cruise ship packages, amenities, excursions or on-board promotions.
Since the launch on the Silversea fleet eight months ago, PressReader Offline has been welcomed on board more than a dozen cruise line brands, including Crystal Cruises and Cunard Line. Before the end of 2014, 90 more vessels will be offering the service to their guests.