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After a long search, Next Issue Media, the digital magazine/newspaper JV of Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith (NYSE: MDP), News Corporation (NSDQ: NWS) and Time Inc. (NYSE: TWX), has named former TiVo (NSDQ: TIVO) president Morgan Guenther as CEO. He’ll be based in San Francisco. The JV came together six months ago with former Time Inc. EVP John Squires as interim head.
The 10 member publishers contributed The company had $10 million in funding to move the project forward, but the search for a permanent CEO was a particularly difficult, bitter issue for the individual publishers to iron out, as Rafat reported last week. Presumably, all the members are on board with Guenther at the top and they can now get to the harder work of setting up a system for selling mags and newspapers across e-readers.
Update:: Squires will be leaving the venture, a Next Issue rep told paidContent.
One of the first challenges Guenther faces is figuring out exactly what Next Issue’s business model is. Work on the business strategy has already been started by management consultant Oliver Wyman, who was hired in February. The general goal Next Issue has mapped out from the beginning was the development of ad formats and standards for e-reader devices, outside of what Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is trying to do with its closed iAd system for mobile. Even though they celebrate the sales of digital replicas of periodicals on the iPad and iPhone, publishers have bristled at the tight control that Apple maintains over consumer data, something that magazines and newspapers were used to having.
Interestingly, the news of Guenther’s hiring comes a day after Next Issue member News Corp. acquired Skiff’s e-reading platform and IP — a purchase that did not include ownership of the actual the Skiff device. Skiff’s e-reading platform is designed to work across devices, not only on Skiff