FeedBrewer to Expand Printcasting to Phones and Tablets, Including the iPad

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Key highlights:

  • Printcasting spins off as FeedBrewer, Inc.
  • New tools to provide publish-once, distribute-everywhere capability

(Broomfield, Colo. April 20, 2010) The team that built the open-source Printcasting tools announced the formation of a new company to provide custom publishing services to companies and non-profits, as well as maintain the free Printcasting.com service after its two-year Knight Foundation grant ends.

FeedBrewer, Inc. will expand the democratized print-publishing approach of Printcasting to mobile devices and tablet computers, including the new Apple iPad. It will also begin providing paid custom development services this summer, immediately after the Knight News Challenge-funded Printcasting tools are open sourced in early June.

“As the authors of Printcasting, a leader in the cloud-publishing movement, we’re uniquely positioned to help publishers in the next big transition to mobile content,” said Dan Pacheco, the newly-appointed CEO of FeedBrewer Inc. The new FeedBrewer tools will plug into the open-sourced Printcasting modules.

FeedBrewer will still provide a printable PDF output, but will add additional templates for leading mobile platforms. The company’s initial development focus will be on the iPhone and iPad, followed by Google’s Android platform and RIM’s Blackberry, Pacheco said. FeedBrewer will also create enhanced widgets for featuring content on Web sites in a magazine-like format that supports audio and video.

“This is the publish-once, distribute-everywhere approach everyone is looking for,” Pacheco said. “All of these new outputs will be automatically created for the publisher, based on the design and content choices they make in FeedBrewer. Content will feed in, and beautifully designed experiences will flow out. Publishers will simply need to check a box to turn a new output on or off. They won’t need to worry about formatting everything separately for print, online or mobile.”

FeedBrewer will continue Printcasting’s tradition of providing a base level of its functionality for free. And while enhanced features and customization will be available for a fee, it will offer non-profits discounted rates.

The Bakersfield Californian, which provided additional funding to Printcasting, will receive an equity stake in FeedBrewer Inc. and will sign on as FeedBrewer’s first paying customer. FeedBrewer is now negotiating deals with other interested customers and seed investors.

“We're thrilled to be a part of FeedBrewer's mission to reach new audiences in new ways,” said Ginger Moorhouse, publisher of The Bakersfield Californian, a test bed for Printcasting. “In an age of growing market niches and rapidly changing consumer expectations, it's important to have publishing tools that are not only powerful but cost effective and easy to use.”

Printcasting, which was initially funded by an $837,000 Knight News Challenge grant, began as a tool to allow anyone to create a professional-looking print publication for local distribution. But it started to attract interest from existing newspaper publishers soon after its launch one year ago. Four newspaper companies and one university are now testing the tools in different geographic markets around the world.

That is what lead to the realization of the real power behind the Printcasting concept, Pacheco said.

“Printcasting reduces the time and expense required to create a printable PDF magazine, and that lets newspapers create more new products without having to invest in additional headcount and software. Our partners have helped us see that our 'democratized publishing’ approach can be applied to Web and mobile devices as well,” Pacheco said.

What sets Printcasting apart from other content management systems and frameworks is how it separates traditional publishing roles into component parts. Content can be fed into the system from RSS feeds, which most content management systems can easily create.

“This means content people can focus on content, while design people focus on design. That makes it an ideal tool for the millions of companies and organizations that are trying to publish more content – whether online or in print – with the same or fewer resources," Pacheco said.