Magazine publishers announce joint digital distribution scheme

Joseph L. Flatley
J. Flatley|12.08.09

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Magazine publishers announce joint digital distribution scheme
The joint venture between four leading publishers has issued a press release highlighting a few of the finer points of its plan to create a platform for digital magazine distribution -- we guess that The New York Observer wasn't kidding when it said that a deal between Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corporation, and Time Inc. was imminent. Essentially a vehicle for selling publications for just about any device (including smartphones, e-readers, and laptops), the content will be optimized for multiple operating systems and display sizes, and according Time exec John Squires, it will all be DRM-free. They've yet to announce a name for this beast -- although we're leaning towards Magulu (or, perhaps, the iMags Store). PR after the break.

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Initiative Will also Offer Marketers Rich Array of Innovative Advertising Opportunities

New York, NY, December 8, 2009 – Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corporation and Time Inc. today jointly announced that they have entered into an independent venture to develop open standards for a new digital storefront and related technology that will allow consumers to enjoy their favorite media content on portable digital devices.

The goal of this digital initiative is fourfold, to create: a highly featured common reading application capable of rendering the distinctive look and feel of each publication; a robust publishing platform optimized for multiple devices, operating systems and screen sizes; a consumer storefront offering an extensive selection of reading options; and a rich array of innovative advertising opportunities.

Beyond the publications of the equity partners, the venture will welcome other publishers to offer their content via this new digital platform. Publishers will derive revenue from content and advertising sales, as well as from print subscriptions.

"For the consumer, this digital initiative will provide access to an extraordinary selection of engaging content products, all customized for easy download on the device of their choice, including smartphones, e-readers and laptops," explained John Squires, the venture's interim managing director. "Once purchased, this content will be 'unlocked' for consumers to enjoy anywhere, anytime, on any platform."

For publishers and advertisers, the venture will offer an attractive, cost-efficient, consumer-focused environment. Advertisers will be able to utilize innovative formats that benefit from the highly engaging, interactive nature of this new medium. In addition to entirely new magazine and newspaper reading experiences, content selections may ultimately include books, comic books, blogs and other media.

For the hardware, software and retail industries, the initiative will provide dynamic new business opportunities by organizing a library of quality content with a common format and technical specifications. The venture partners represent an unduplicated audience of 144.6 million according to Mediamark Research & Intelligence (MRI). By the end of 2010, Forrester Research estimates that 10 million e-readers will be sold in the U.S., and according to m:Metrics (comScore), there will be over 50 million smartphones in the U.S. by the end of 2010.
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