One of the biggest alliances ever formed among rival print publishers is being assembled to prepare magazines that can work across multiple digital platforms, including the iPhone and BlackBerry. The group encompasses Time Inc., Condé Nast and Hearst -- houses that together publish more than 50 magazines.
The new company will not develop an e-book, but create something that insiders compare to iTunes - a store where people can buy new and distinct iterations of The New Yorker or Time. Print magazines will also be for sale. The consortium's goal is to provide one point of contact for consumers who go to the main store to get content any way they want. But individual publishers will still have to figure out how to build digital versions of their own magazines.
John Squires, executive vice president at Time Inc., is planning to leave Time and become the interim executive of the new entity. If all goes as planned, the new company could be announced within weeks, and other publishers may join in as well.