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Digital Newsstand to Launch in US

02 Dec 2010

Next Issue Media, a U.S. publishing joint venture, is set to launch its digital newsstand. The newsstand will start out selling print and digital titles of NIM's founding companies (Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp. and Time Inc.), with the goal of adding other publishers' titles over time.


That means e-reader versions of major titles like Elle, Maxim and The Economist won't initially be available, although Guenther said NIM's five founders represent 80 percent of subscription volume in the U.S.


Guenther said the storefront would give publishers access to customer information they consider critical to their business (and which they've been denied by Apple's App store for the iPad).


Publishers will be able to set their own prices and sell digital subscriptions, single copies and print/digital bundles using Vindicia, a digital billing provider. A customer lookup feature will let publishers target offers to consumers based on their purchase history.


"At end of the day, this lets newspapers and magazines grow the size of the pie," Guenther said.


A big missing piece is a deal with Apple. Guenther said while the aim is to have agreements with all device makers, the storefront would initially only work for Android devices.


"The goal is to have this fully stocked storefront across tablets and other hi-res devices," said Guenther. "We're focusing the launch around Android, and there's a large group that's coming to market, [with] both seven-inch and 10-inch displays. We'll also be Apple-ready and Web-OS-ready, and each of those requires [striking] the right deals."


At its 2009 launch, NIM said one of its goals was to develop a common system for publishing titles across multiple e-reading devices. Today, Guenther said NIM hasn't given up on that idea but declined to give specifics.


"Our focus is on the delivery of an immersive digital reading experience," he said. "The idea over time is to develop common standards, common readers. That's something we're working on."


Source: Media Week


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