Five of the biggest publishers in the world, including News Corp. and Time Warner, are banding together in an equity partnership to develop a new open E-Reader platform as part of a plan to drive online revenues in the wake of the dramatic falloff in print sales.
The five powerhouse publishers, which also include Conde Nast, Hearst and Meredith, said the new E-Reader platform will open the door to a rich array of innovative advertising opportunities.
The E-Reader platform will feature a consumer storefront with what the publishers called an extensive collection of products.
Together, the five companies represent a reading audience of 144.6 million,according to Mediamark Research & Intelligence (MRI).
The E-Reader platform represents a watershed moment for publishing giants attempting to take control of their destiny in the Google dominated online news/content world.
The five equity partners said they will welcome other publishers to offer their content via the new digital platform. What's more, they said publishers who team up with them will "derive revenue from content and advertising sales, as well as from print subscriptions."
The open platform is aimed at providing a common look and feel as publishers attempt to move content to the Web in a world of wildly diverse hardware offerings from smartphones to netbooks to desktops.
In a press release, the publishers said the open platform will feature a common reading application capable of rendering the distinctive look and feel of each publication along with a robust publishing platform optimized for multiple devices, operating systems and screen sizes.
"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," said John Squires, an executive vice president at Time Inc., who is the interim managing director of the new venture, in a prepared statement. "Once purchased, this content will be 'unlocked' for consumers to enjoy anywhere, anytime, on any platform."