updated 11:55 am EST, Tue December 8, 2009
Pubs want universal e-text platform
True to a late leak, five major American publishers today cemented plans for a joint venture to promote a universal standard for digital magazines and similar content. Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp and Time expect the unnamed company to develop digital magazines that will be readable on many platforms, including different operating systems and screen sizes, such as computers, smartphones and tablets. The technology will also be designed such that it should scale up to color reading devices with mixed media like animations and video.
The format will also aim to centralize the storefront and give rights to read a publication on any supporting device no matter where it's been bought. Advertising is ultimately expected to evolve away from static images to take advantage of Internet connections and more powerful hardware.
As expected in one leak, Time executive VP John Squires is leaving to run the venture and hopes to become CEO later on.
Most of the companies involved in the venture have been preemptively developing their own platforms, such as Hearst's Skiff, but are expected to ultimately work together. The publications are primarily targeting e-book readers but have been developing with the expectation of supporting a still rumored but widely anticipated Apple tablet, with Condé Nast and Time going so far as to prototype a tablet format with the expectation they could adapt it to the touchscreen slate through an app.