What We’re Made Of is a Q&A series that looks at how companies in the aviation industry are tackling challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve had to adapt to changes in where, when and how we work, but we are resilient. If you would like to share your experience, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
CEO & chief content officer, PressReader
Day 28 of working from home
Date of writing: April 13
Are you in lockdown right now?
I’m in Vancouver, Canada at the moment, and no, we’re not in lockdown. Although the Province of British Columbia has declared a state of emergency, so far we’ve been doing our part in flattening the curve by eliminating non-essential travel and observing physical distancing rules.
Where are you writing from?
One of the bedrooms in our condo has been quickly converted into a comfortable office space. Having a familiar set up is important, so I’ve replicated what I had in the two offices that I normally work out of (in Vancouver and Dublin): A second monitor, external keyboard and mouse and my trusted Bluetooth headphones. I even brought home my office plant with me. One thing that’s different is having a burning candle. It’s soothing.
How are you passing time?
I seek escapism through content on PressReader. I’ve always loved cooking, and now I do more of it since all restaurants in our area have been shut. Having access to a whole range of cooking magazines is truly a godsend.
“Our aviation partners are flying very little, if at all, so we’re now providing access to PressReader to their loyalty program members.”
Describe where your business was at the end of 2019. What were your goals/projections for 2020?
We had an incredibly healthy pipeline at the end of 2019. We’re quite a diversified business, so not all of our clients are equally affected. We work a lot with libraries, and they’ve been heavily promoting PressReader’s remote access capabilities to their patrons. You can sit at home and still have access to the content simply by logging in with your library card number. We are focused on diversifying even further, but our mission remains the same – to improve the way people discover the stories that matter.
Can you share some specific challenges your business has faced as a result of the outbreak? How did you overcome them and how can the industry learn from your experiences?
Our aviation partners are flying very little, if at all, so we’re now providing access to PressReader to their loyalty program members. On April 17, we’re introducing a goodwill campaign with our partners Turkish Airlines which will give its Miles&Smiles members access to PressReader for two months.
Our hospitality partners have also suffered, losing pretty much all their guests. Some have opened their doors to healthcare workers and the sick, and we’ve extended complimentary access to these hotels in appreciation for their efforts. Finally, our marine partners have had almost all their sailings cancelled, so we have extended access to our services for employees stuck at home and passengers and crew on quarantined ships.
Some companies may have been inspired to create new product lines, or redesign existing product or services as a result of the pandemic. How is it driving innovation?
We started looking at areas which could use PressReader more than ever. We developed a program for long-term care centres (retirement communities) – arguably, one of the most vulnerable groups in today’s world – and the seniors are loving it. We also reached out to various property management companies providing services to residential buildings and suggested that they offer PressReader to their residents in lieu of standard, and now closed, amenities like gyms and pools. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Last, but not least, we started working with remote sites such as military bases and mining camps, all of which have been on strict lockdown procedures now.
What’s one thing that will never be the same again for commercial aviation?
I’d say that we’re not likely to see a return of printed newspapers and magazines. Most definitely not in the same quantities as before. The focus will be on passengers using personal electronic devices, and at PressReader we’re there to support them with access to trusted, quality content which informs and entertains.