Latest DPS stats show rapid growth in circulation and readership; .folio file format to be offered under free license

Adobe made two exciting announcements today. First, circulation and readership metrics associated with digital magazines continue to climb rapidly, showing more proof that reader adoption of digital magazine content on devices continues to take off. Following on this momentum, Adobe has also announced its plans to aid expansion of the digital publishing industry by providing the .folio file format technical specification at no charge.

Here are the details:

Circulation and Readership Continue to Grow

Back in June 2013, Adobe announced that cumulative downloads of publications to DPS apps on mobile devices had reached 100 million. In the six months since that announcement, we’ve continued to see rapid growth and are excited to share that the cumulative number of DPS downloads is now 150 million.

This increase in circulation correlates directly to the solid gains we’re seeing in readership of DPS apps. In a year-over-year comparison from October 2012 to October 2013, DPS data shows that publishers have added more than three times as many unique monthly readers to their digital editions. Plus, the content in DPS is really grabbing and keeping their attention. Our data shows that subscribers are now spending an average of 50 minutes per month in DPS apps.

This growth in circulation, readership and engagement are clear indicators that digital magazines are creating opportunities for magazine publishers to transform their business by generating readership around the world and attracting high value advertisers.



DPS Features Power Reader Engagement

A large part of what is fueling this growth is a set of consumer marketing tools built into DPS. Social sharing, web viewer capabilities, push notifications and free preview of content are being successfully used by commercial publishers to engage new readers and increase subscription sales through app discovery, immediate access to content and timing and placement of purchase offers.

Social Sharing

USWeekly Social Sharing USWeekly3



  • Encourage readers to share content through their social networks
  • Enable sharing across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and email
  • Promote subscription offers through sharing flow to drive revenue




Web Viewer




  • Leverage web traffic to build awareness of content available through mobile app
  • Introduce high-fidelity content without needing to download and install app
  • Convert web viewers into app subscribers




Push Notifications 





  • Encourages repeat visits
  • Enables publishers to announce new issues and promote off-cycle and other related content
  • Target readers based on behavior or purchase history with customized messages






Free Preview

Free PreviewFree Preview2



  • Ensure readers explore your app after installation
  • Give customers immediate access to sample content
  • Convert to paid subscription through paywall





From Bill Phillips, Editor in Chief, Men’s Health, Rodale:

“Marketing of our content is critical to our business and we trust Adobe to continually deliver innovations to DPS that make it easy for us to grow our base of digital readers. The ability to deliver free previews of each issue introduces potential subscribers to our magazine in a meaningful way and this functionality is an important key to increasing circulation and revenue.”

Be sure to check out our white paper designed to help publishers take full advantage of DPS consumer marketing features to generate awareness, collect data, formulate optimal pricing and subscription offers, and ultimately maximize readership and purchase conversion.

.folio to be Offered Under Free License

Adobe has also announced that it will publish the technical specification for the .folio format under a free license in the first quarter of 2014. The .folio file format has become the de facto standard for highly interactive digital publications. Because of the fast growth of the digital publishing industry, and the increase in marketplaces that want to leverage .folio, Adobe believes that the industry is better served through the licensing of the .folio specification.

This is exciting news for our commercial publishing customers who will be able to extend their content through a variety of marketplaces that accept the .folio file format specification. Publishing to .folio as a universally accepted digital publishing file format will allow magazine publishers to more efficiently produce digital content for mobile devices by eliminating the need to create and publish interactive, digital content in multiple, individual proprietary file formats supported by each unique marketplace. Newsstands and marketplaces that accept the license for the .folio file format specification will be able to create their own native viewers capable of displaying digital magazines  available in the .folio file format.

From Nick Bogaty, Adobe’s Head of Digital Publishing:

“Adobe has a long tradition of creating and supporting open file formats to enable content publishing and distribution. PDF was instrumental to the advent of desktop publishing and document sharing, and our work in Web standards, including HTML5, has advanced what’s possible to do on the Web and in mobile apps. We are thrilled to make .folio available for free use to accelerate the growth of digital magazines and other publications.”

Read the press release here: Latest Adobe Stats Show Rapid Growth in Digital Publication Readership 

Stay connected to our blog and social media channels–Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn–for more news about the .folio free license when it becomes available.

Corporate Publishing, Digital Strategy, News, Uncategorized


  • By Alexandre - 10:30 AM on December 19, 2013  

    We have already a beta version of a .folio html5 player,

    We are looking for beta testers …


  • By Germen Kroon - 4:26 AM on December 15, 2013  

    I’ve quit for a year now giving training in folio’s, because my most of clients (and theirs) couldn’t afford the publishing costs. I’ve switched to epub, interactive pdf etc. This was the answer for them. Does this mean the folio’s can be build through non Adobe-software but by Open Source (like epub), can they be hosted om my own servers and be read anywhere on every device, and be licensed by anyone without commission to other parties like Adobe?

  • By Dianne Kennedy - 6:47 AM on December 11, 2013  

    Will be most interested to see the terms of the free license. Will it be a BSD type license where anyone can build any sort of new applications or strictly limited to newsstand licensees (as stated in the press release) to build their own software to view or write .folio. Will stay tuned to understand more about what “free” really means!

    • By Jon Marks - 1:47 PM on December 11, 2013  

      I second Dianne’s comment. It would be really good to understand what this licence will look like.

      I’m assuming it won’t be a free-for-all. If it was, then someone could write, for example, an open source .folio viewer which others could easily embed it into their apps. If nothing else, this removes a huge barrier to exit (the back issues) for people that might want to move off DPS.

      Similarly, I’m assuming that it is currently is (and will continue to be) against the licence for someone to write a format converter (say .folio to .epub or OpenEFT)?

      Lastly, will the licence mandate that .folio files are served from the Adobe cloud, or could they be hosted anywhere?

      As the entire interweb discovered in the fairly recent discussions about an open unified, cross browser video format, the licence is sadly far more important than the tech …


  • By Peter Villevoye - 10:03 AM on December 10, 2013  

    What is the idea of this ? Can more developers tap into the Folio format with plugins for InDesign or completely new applications ? Will other providers be able to host and serve Folio’s ? Will viewing Folio’s become less exotic on desktops and in browsers ? Bye-bye PDF, hello Folio !

  • By Mark Gubarenko - 7:21 AM on December 10, 2013  

    Wow, licensing folio? So does Adobe plan to reduce prices for DPS? Or anyone will be able to have the same for free? So why should i still pay for DPS?

    Thats nonsense.