updated 11:50 pm EST, Mon December 7, 2009
Companies will establish a set of common standards
Several media companies, including four magazine publishers and News Corp., have organized a joint venture aimed at optimizing content for the upcoming generations of electronic devices, according to The Wall Street Journal. People familiar with the matter suggest the new entity will be announced sometime Tuesday.
The venture will be owned by News Corp., Time Inc., Condé Nast, Hearst Corp., and Meredith Corp. The companies will attempt to develop a set of standards geared for the latest devices such as e-book readers. Collaboration will also focus on generating revenue through advertising and establishing a common portal where subscribers can purchase media from the entire range of publishers.
Several recent stories suggest the companies have already started to optimize content for e-book readers or the rumored Apple tablet. News Corp. has been rumored to be working on its own e-ink reader, which is believed to potentially compete directly with Amazon's Kindle. Hearst has detailed a new publishing system, Skiff, that will bring media to devices such as tablets. The company also confirmed plans to launch its own e-book reader.
Condé Nast recently disclosed that it is optimizing its magazines, including Wired, for an Applet tablet, despite the lack of an official confirmation of such a device. Time Inc. has followed a similar path, last week previewing a version of Sports Illustrated reformatted for tablets.
Although devices such as the iPhone have already begun to exert an influence on media distribution, several executives involved in the new venture suggest their companies should not wait for others to develop a market for their publications.