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Hearst Takes on e-Reading with Skiff

December 04, 2009

Hearst Corporation has announced its own consumer e-reading device, scheduled to launch in 2010. The service, named Skiff, will "feature a comprehensive selection of newspapers, magazines, books and other content from multiple publishers, uniquely optimized for wireless delivery to devices and delivery via the Web."

“Skiff’s goal is to connect publishers and marketers with consumers,” said Gilbert Fuchsberg, president of Skiff, which has offices in both New York City and Palo Alto, Calif. “We will accomplish this by delivering engaging reading experiences that consumers will value and a business model that respects publishers’ needs.”

Skiff is a digital content system more than a reader, designed to streamline the digital publishing process for publishers.

“Navigating new digital technologies is extremely challenging for publishers, which is why Skiff exists—it will give publishers a strong partner that can help them succeed in e-reading,” said Kenneth A. Bronfin, president of Hearst Interactive Media. “Skiff will offer publishers a way to participate across the full value chain, from shaping publication design to selling advertising to maintaining subscriber relationships, so that they can better control their destiny as e-reading expands.”

Skiff has also partnered with a company called Marvell, a manufacturer of semiconductors, to create a "system on a chip," which will enable other manufacturers to build-in Skiff and more easily create devices. By supporting a variety of device makers, Skiff will make it easier for publishers to distribute content and advertising broadly across multiple devices from a range of manufacturers. Skiff also will have Sprint wireless capability and Skiff readers will also be sold through 1,000 of Sprint's retail locations in the U.S.

The Skiff platform also has robust support for advertisers, including advanced tracking abilities through Nielsen and comScore to help with advertising analytics.

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