Hearst Plans Digital Magazine, Newspaper Service
Publisher Hearst Corp. plans to launch next year a service called Skiff to sell digital versions of newspapers and magazines on electronic readers and other devices, in a system it believes will be more visually appealing to readers and more lucrative for media companies.
Skiff would give publishers an alternative to Amazon.com Inc.’s (AMZN) 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 (AAPL) iPhone and small laptops called netbooks. Skiff, which Hearst has been developing for more than two years as a separate company called First Paper LLC, also is developing its own e-reading device with a consumer-electronics firm.