Hearst is building a new digital distribution site for publishers who want their work on the coming wave of e-readers, cell phones, and tablets, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The service is called Skiff, and it comes from Hearst owned startup First Paper. It is also working on its own dedicated e-reader device.
WSJ: Skiff would give publishers an alternative to Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle store, which currently dominates the burgeoning field of digital reading. Through Skiff, Hearst said consumers will be able to buy digital publications that have better graphics and look more like their print counterparts, including the inclusion of advertising, than versions offered elsewhere.
The service will include a digital storefront as well as a back-end system that publishers can use to render their publications for a range of electronic devices, including Apple Inc.’s iPhone and small laptops called netbooks.
This sounds very similar to the iTunes for magazines Time Inc., Conde Nast, and Hearst, are developing. Publishers are frustrated that Amazon and Apple control the consumer experience.
They want to wrest control from those companies. They want to have access to all the data on readers, so they can sell more magazines and sell more ads.