Mag Bag: Major Publishers Collaborate On E-Reader


Major Publishers Collaborate On E-Reader

Time Inc., Conde Nast, and Hearst have joined forces to create a new e-reader for magazines and newspapers, with a possible assist from Meredith Corp., according to the New York Post. The plan is ambitious: The new reader is intended to compete with Amazon's Kindle, which the publishers view as unsatisfactory because it doesn't allow color images.

The publishers are being careful to avoid any appearance of trust-like collusion and will probably create a "separate entity" to build and market the e-reader, according to Charles Townsend, the CEO of Conde Nast, who emphasized that the cooperation would take place "legally and appropriately." Leading the project are Time Executive Vice President John Squires, Hearst Executive Vice President and General Manager John Loughlin, and Conde Nast President of Consumer Marketing Robert Sauerberg.



The decision to enter the highly competitive electronics hardware business strikes many industry observers as curious -- especially considering that they are also planning to make their content compatible with new e-reader devices from Sony, HP, and Apple. That seems to raise the prospect of one distribution channel competing with another.

Still, print publishers that are desperate to rebuild their revenue streams have shown increasing interest in the new generation of mobile e-readers. Amazon's Kindle DX was developed in collaboration with The New York Times Company, which touted the e-readers as a new mobile distribution channel.

P&G Launches Custom Pub Rouge

Procter & Gamble is bringing a Canadian custom publication to the U.S. market, with a new U.S. edition of Rouge, its quarterly beauty title. The U.S. launch will bring its total North American distribution to about 11 million households by the end of 2010. The new title is being promoted via a variety of channels, including consumer word of mouth on the Web, courtesy of "mommy bloggers." The magazine was previously tested in the U.S. market with an initial trial run with a circulation of 2 million in September 2008.

The Economist Considers Higher Pay Wall

The Economist is considering charging more for its online content by requiring digital subscriptions to access the print magazine's content online. The magazine is also cutting back the amount of time that non-subscribers can access archival content -- from a year after publication to just 90 days. If a visitor to the Web site wants to view content from more than three months ago, they will have to buy a digital subscription, which costs $95.

Zinio Adds Titles

In the last 3 months, Zinio, which produces digital editions of print publications, has added over 1,000 magazines and books from around the world to its portfolio of digital content offerings. New U.S. magazines include Martha Stewart Living, Rolling Stone, Smithsonian and Us Weekly. Zinio also recently launched a number of distribution partnerships, including Russia, New Zealand and Canada. It is producing digital versions of the Russian editions of Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Harper's Bazaar, Men's Health and Popular Mechanics.

Bonnier Buys Conceive

Bonnier Corp. which publishes Parenting and Babytalk, is adding to its stable of family-focused publications with the acquisition of Conceive, a quarterly title with circulation of 200,000. Founded in 2004, "Conceive provides us with a unique entry point to the mom marketplace and fits in our overall strategy to expand Bonnier's opportunities in growth markets through multimedia platforms," states Bonnier CEO Terry Snow.

Hachette Reorganizes Cycle World Group

Hachette Filipacchi is shaking up management at the Cycle World franchise as part of an ongoing overhaul of the company's publishing structure. The reorganization brings a number of changes: Executive Editor Mark Hoyer has been promoted to president of brand content and editor in chief -- replacing the previous EIC, David Edwards, who is leaving the company. Paul LaBella has been named vice president and brand publisher. Previously, he was national advertising director. Corey Eastman, previously marketing director for Cycle World, was given the role of vice president of brand development.

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