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Condé Nast Officially Announces Its Digital Magazine Initiative

mmmm.jpgComing a day late (The Wall Street Journal broke the story yesterday which quickly sped through media outlets) Condé Nast announced this afternoon its plan to move its titles into the 21st century with its Digital Magazine Initiative. This includes the much-talked-about e-readers version of Wired magazine, which will “deliver full-color, high resolution magazines” to your smartphone, laptop and “netbooks.”

But that’s not the only thing S.I. Newhouse‘s team is working on: Condé Nast Digital has been busy reorganizing its sales sector into 5 different sectors, and hiring on its digital arm even as deep cuts are being made into its print divisions. Good strategy for looking ahead, or cutting off the nose to spite the face? You tell us.

Press release after the jump.

Read More: Condé Preparing E-Reader Version of Wired Preparing E-Reader Version of WiredWall Street Journal

Previously: Condé Nast Digital’s Schutte: We’re Not A Late Bloomer


CONDÉ NAST UNVEILS INITIATIVE TO BUILD DIGITAL MAGAZINES

Company Announces Strategic Initiative with Adobe to Create Authoring Tools

Company is also in Discussion with Hewlett Packard

NEW YORK, November 19, 2009 — Condé Nast announced today a plan to develop magazines for the next generation of digital devices.

“We have formed a strategic alliance with Adobe to collaborate on creating technologies that will allow the company to design and produce a new generation of digital magazines,” said Charles H. Townsend, President & CEO of Condé Nast.

One of the first products of this strategic alliance with Adobe will be a magazine application built on the Adobe AIR runtime. Adobe AIR lets developers use proven web technologies to build rich Internet applications that run outside the browser on multiple operating systems. The application is expected to be deployable to an array of devices from laptops and netbooks, to future generation smartphones, to the first electronic color slate devices due next year.

The initiative, which will first be deployed with Wired magazine, will enable Condé Nast to deliver full-color, high resolution magazines that combine the immersive experience of its award-winning titles with the convenience and functionality of a digitally distributed and internet-connected product.

“This is the next piece of the puzzle for developing our unique magazine content in a digitalized format that will drive the new devices that will hit the market in 2010,” said Mr. Townsend. “Our hope is that the product of our work with Adobe will be used widely throughout the magazine industry.”

“Condé Nast is home to renowned publishing brands, with magazines and reporting that help drive and hold a mirror to our culture,” said John Loiacono, Senior Vice President of Creative Solutions at Adobe. “Our unique collaboration is a natural extension to the commitment that Condé Nast has made to the Open Screen Project and their support for the Flash platform. Condé Nast is trusting Adobe technology to deliver, in digital format, the high design values and visual aesthetic that readers and advertisers expect from them. We’re confident that the resulting work will set new standards in visual impact and reader engagement for Wired and other flagship Condé magazines.”

The announcement comes as Condé Nast is also expanding development of iPhone applications for many of its brands. Yesterday, the company began selling an iPhone version of the GQ “Men of the Year” issue through the iTunes App store. GQ’s December issue is the first consumer magazine to be certified as a replica edition by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), which means digital downloads will be counted in the magazine’s paid circulation. Other iPhone applications have been launched by Lucky and Wired magazines, along with several of the company’s digital properties, including Epicurious.com and Style.com.

In addition, Condé Nast said it is also in conversations with Hewlett Packard, one of the leading technology companies in the world. “Hewlett Packard shares the vision held by Adobe and Condé Nast for a more compelling way to publish and consume magazine content,” said Satjiv S. Chahil, Senior Vice President, Global Marketing, Personal Systems Group, Hewlett Packard. “We are pleased to be involved with them in defining the technologies that will enable this transformation.”

The effort with Adobe and the company’s discussions with Hewlett Packard are intended to move beyond the current generation of eReader with black and white screens and deliver a full magazine-like experience, with high-resolution color displays. Many current devices do not carry advertising, but in its work for the iPhone and with Adobe, Condé is seeking to create the kind of environment its advertising partners value.

“These initiatives are part of a strategy by the company to extend its iconic brands into the digital world,” continued Townsend. “Condé’s goal is to create experiences that closely resemble the process of reading its print magazines. The creation of a digital magazine using Adobe’s authoring tools will create reader engagement that matches or even exceeds what it achieves in print.”

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