Next Issue Media, the newspaper and magazine publishing JV, has been slowly putting itself together for the past year and is almost ready to finally launch its digital newsstand. In an interview with the WSJ, CEO Morgan Guenther says the JV will release two digital products from four of its five publishers sometime in the “next few months.”
The lone holdout in NIM’s initial launch appears to be News Corp., though it could ultimately decide to join founding partners Time Inc. (NYSE: TWX), Condé Nast, Hearst Corp. and Meredith Corp. (NYSE: MDP) when the moment arrives. News Corp (NSDQ: NWS). already has its hands full preparing for the scheduled debut of The Daily, its oft-delayed iPad newspaper, next week.
The full roster of titles in the digital magazine consortium should be available through its storefront by the summer. For the kick-off, the timing of which Guenther didn’t specify, calls for two titles from each of the four partners to be released. The names of magazines weren’t detailed either, though all have a variety of digital replicas of their best-selling mags available through either Zinio or as standalone apps in Apple’s iTunes’ store.
At the end of November, Guenther said he was leaning towards Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Android’s platform for the launch because of the flexibility of the system, an implication of the problems publishers have had with Apple’s relatively closed approval process for apps and its tight hold on consumers’ information. The game plan is premised on the notion that once things take off as planned on Android, Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) will be more willing to make concessions to the publishers. But that’s more a question of “if” rather than “when,” at this point.
In addition to selling digital magazines, NIM also plans to sell ancillary products, such as games and video.