Major media owners take to Kindle Fire

18 November 2011

NEW YORK: Media owners like Time Inc, Hearst Magazines and Meredith are among the firms seeking to leverage Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet to boost revenues.

Time Inc became the latest publisher to pursue this approach, making five magazines - Fortune, People, Real Simple and Sports Illustrated - available on Amazon's new device, with other titles to "follow shortly".

As part of its "All Access" strategy, aiming to ensure subscribers can browse material via every applicable route, the firm has adopted bespoke models for the iPad, Android slates, and Barnes & Noble's Nook.

"Time Inc is the only publisher designing all of its digital magazine apps specifically for tablets. Because we're producing a rich consumer experience made for each device, our brands translate beautifully," Steve Sachs, Time Inc's EVP, consumer marketing and sales, said.

The Kindle Fire already hosts over 400 magazines and newspapers in its "Newsstand", and is attracting considerable attention given that many analysts believe it may constitute a mass market alternative to the iPad.

Users of the Kindle Fire subscribing from the Newsstand before March 1, 2012 will receive three-month free trials of 17 magazines from Condé Nast's stable, such as Glamour, GQ, Vanity Fair and Wired.

"We are very pleased to be ... getting our content to an even wider audience," Monica Ray, EVP, consumer marketing, Condé Nast, said. "Their Newsstand will provide the kind of access and ease-of-use consumers value and demand."

The Kindle Fire will cost $199, and hands customers free storage facilities thanks to a cloud computing service, as Amazon attempts to meet evolving shopper needs.

Hearst, the owner of Cosmopolitan, Elle, Good Housekeeping and Harper's Bazaar, has been quick to exploit the possibilities presented by the Kindle Fire, which it anticipates could rival the iPad.

"Everything I've heard so far about the new Kindle [Fire] sounds great," said Mark Weinberg, Hearst Magazines' VP, programming and product strategy. "Whatever works is where we're going to be, and [this] has the potential to be a competitor, and a strong contender."

Liz Schimel, chief digital officer at Meredith, was similarly optimistic about utilising this platform to enhance the position of its portfolio, containing titles like Better Homes & Gardens and Parents.

"Meredith has worked with Amazon to create Kindle Fire optimised interactive apps, so readers can enjoy videos, how-to diagrams and more," she said. "We think readers will love the experience of discovering our magazines in this new way."

Data sourced from AllThingsD, Amazon, News & Tech; additional content by Warc staff