News Corp, Time, others detail e-standard venture

NEW YORK (Reuters) – News Corp, Time Warner Inc’s Time Inc and three other publishers detailed their long-expected plans to develop open standards for a new digital storefront and technology to help prepare their print titles for devices ranging from e-books to tablet computers.

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Newspaper and magazine publishers have been hurt by a sharp decline in print advertising revenue in recent years as readers and advertisers have moved to online sites.

The group’s plan is for publishers to drive revenue both from content and advertising sales as well as from print subscriptions.

The venture, which also include Conde Nast, Hearst and Meredith, wants to create a common reading application and a publishing platform optimized for multiple devices, operating systems and screen sizes.

Other aims include creating a consumer storefront, offering a selection of reading options and an array of advertising opportunities.

The group said they hope to include other publishers’ content on the new platform beyond the five equity partners.

By helping hardware and software makers organize a library of content with a common format and technical specifications, it should make it easier for articles to be read on devices like Amazon.com’s Kindle or a new widely expected tablet device from Apple Inc.

Forrester Research estimates that 10 million e-readers will be sold in the United States by the end of 2010.

The joint venture will be led by Time Inc executive John Squires. The venture partners said they represent an audience of 144.6 million according to Mediamark Research & Intelligence (MRI).

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