Time Inc Executive Sets Out to Rescue the Magazine Industry

Here it is – the idea that will save magazines.

Or, at least, make money online.

Time Inc's John Squires

Time Inc's John Squires

According to the All Things Digital blog, earlier this year, Time Inc CEO Ann Moore tasked her lieutenant, John Squires, with figuring out how to put the digital “genie back in the bottle.”  Here’s part of his answer: A Hulu for magazines.

Hulu is a website that offers commercial-supported streaming video of TV shows and movies from NBC, Fox, ABC and many other networks and studios.  But in this case, magazine-like publications are to be delivered via e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s rumored tablet.

Squires foresees a joint venture, which will operate independently from the publishers that invest in it, and will create a digital storefront where consumers can purchase and manage their subscriptions, which can be delivered to any device.

Many of the venture’s big details have yet to be worked out before the 2010 start date.  But the concept has been received well.  Again, according to All Things Digital, publishers feel they’ve got nothing to lose by trying.  “We know that traditional magazines are going away, and that magazines on the Web don’t work,” says a publishing executive working on the plan.  “But this gives us a chance to serve the reader who will pay for content, and provide advertising that really works.  Can you think of a better idea?”

Update: Squires made his first public comments on October 14 at a panel at the Innovation Summit, a scaled-down version of Magazine Publishers of America’s annual American Magazine Conference.

Mediaweek.com reports that a source close to some of the publishing companies involved has predicted that an announcement of a third-party entity representing the storefront was less than a month away.  Sticking points over ownership and governance are yet to be ironed out.

“They all want it,” the source said.  “They’re all committed to it.  It’s just a matter of signed contracts.”

Do you have any great ideas; if so, let us know.


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