Publishers form joint venture to standardize formats for e-readers

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New York—News Corp. and four magazine publishers—Condé Nast, Hearst Corp., Meredith and Time Inc.—Tuesday formally announced plans to develop open standards for a new digital storefront and e-readers and other portable devices. The venture has been described as print’s answer to Hulu and iTunes. The effort is designed to increase online revenue for publishers from paid content, advertising and print subscription sales.

This group of publishers reaches an unduplicated audience of 144.6 million readers, according to Mediamark Research & Intelligence data.

John Squires is the venture’s interim managing director. “For the consumer, this digital initiative will provide access to an extraordinary selection of engaging content products, all customized for easy download on the device of their choice, including smartphones, e-readers and laptops,” Squires said in a statement. “Once purchased, this content will be ‘unlocked’ for consumers to enjoy anywhere, anytime, on any platform.”

The venture will be open to other publishers beyond the five original equity partners.

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