iTunes for Magazines?

Three big publishing houses have sought to perk up the magazine market by setting up an “iTunes for magazines”. Time Inc and Conde Nast and Hearst are planning to create an online store where digital editions of their biggest magazine names would available to download – at a cost.
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They hope that the online store would provide a new source of revenue to bolster up the faltering magazine format. Titles involved could include giants like Time, People, Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker and Esquire.

Condé Nast and Hearst aren’t planning to release their own e-reader for these magazines, but want to build a store and apps that would allow users to download and consume content on a large variety of devices: computers, iPhones, e-readers we imagine. By grouping together, these publishing houses hope to save money.

The big problem? Well, lots of the content for the magazines is already available for free online – how are they going to get people to pay for it? Um, they haven’t answered that bit yet.

RWW point out that they’re going to have change the content of magazines a bit if they’re going to compete with content that’s already custom made for formats like the iPhone. Though cunning platform adaptions like GQ’s iPhone app might be the way forward.

Would you buy the digital edition of a paper magazine?

[via RWW]

Anna Leach