With three new businesses, company set to make presence felt at home and in the region
Thai digital publishing platform service provider Ookbee plans to launch three new businesses next month – Ookbee Live, with more than 100 local partners; Ookbee Audio Books, with more than five new recording studios; and Ookbee Video Streaming.
Ookbee offers a complete e-publication platform through three main models: The first provides platforms for publishers to sell their products, providing end-users with instant access to all manner of e-books and e-magazines.
Secondly, it converts and distributes e-books and e-magazines for both publishers and content writers, making them compatible with its platforms.
Thirdly, it operates its own bookstores – AIS Bookstore and B2S Bookstore.
“Ookbee is the B2B2C e-commerce operation for e-books,” said Natavudh Pungcharoenpong, chief executive officer of Ookbee.
Currently, about 20 per cent of Ookbee’s top content generates 80 per cent of all downloads in Thailand, which has led the company to add niche products and focus more on its self-publishing technology.
To use the service, end-users have to first download Ookbee’s e-book application. Currently, the company has more than 2.9 million users who have downloaded the Ookbee app, which is supported across a number of platforms, including iOS, Android and Blackberry.
The company has almost 8,000 new app users every day, with more than 200 active publishers in Thailand as its customers. According to Natavudh, 90 per cent of Thailand’s magazines are also using its digital publishing platform.
“We aim to have 4 million downloads by the end of 2013,” said Natavudh, adding that Ookbee has the majority share of Thailand’s digital publishing market – about 80 to 90 per cent.
Natavudh said that although the current e-book market was still small – accounting for only about 1 per cent of Thailand’s total publishing market – it was expected to double, or even triple, over the next few years to 2 or 3 per cent.
Ookbee’s customers are 247 City, Baan Lae Suan, BEyond, Cheewajiti, Dichan, Digital Lifestyle, GM 2000, GM BIZ, GM Car, GM, GA Watch, Health & Cuisine, Health & Soul, Heworlds, Home & Decor, IMAGE, IN Style, Krua, Seventeen, Madame Figaro, Maxim, Men’s Health, Mother & Care, My Home, National Geographic (Thai Edition), OK!, Praew, Real Parenting, Room, Secret, Shape, Sudsapda, WE, and Woman Plus.
Ookbee is also expanding its business to regional markets. In Vietnam, it is providing digital publishing platforms to more than 30 active publishers, while its two Malaysian customers are two of the country’s biggest publishers, with 60 per cent of the market share in Bahasa and Chinese languages.
In Singapore, it offers its digital publishing platform to 31 magazine publications, and in its latest move Ookbee has partnered with Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) to provide its digital publishing service to the company’s whole suite of publications.
Founded only two years ago, by September 2012 Ookbee had already raised Bt57.8 in capital through Shin Corporation’s capital investment arm, InTouch. Recently, the online publishing specialist announced it had partnered with SPH.
“Raising the funds enabled us to explore opportunities outside Thailand,” said Natavudh.
Ookbee started out in mid-2010 as a business arm of IT Works, a Thai software company specialising in fingerprint technology systems. By March last year, Ookbee had split from IT Works with private investment provided by IT Works’ founders.
Ookbee expanded rapidly over the next six months with its new digital platform technology for publishers, retail bookstores and telecom operators, AIS.
IT Works, was founded in 1999 and currently has offices in Thailand, Japan and Vietnam. It is one of Thailand’s most eminent software companies, specialising in mobile solutions and applications for various mobile platforms including Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android and RIM’s Blackberry. IT works has developed and implemented systems for more than 10,000 clients worldwide.