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Can Gadgets Save the Magazine?

Posted on Dec 8, 2009

What to do when your business and the medium it’s printed on are disintegrating into pulp? Form a consortium, of course. Condé Nast, Hearst, Time, News Corp. and something called Meredith have banded together to crack this nut with a common digital format, shared innovation and maybe even a new gadget or two.

Not to be a buzz kill, but all the tablets and tinsel in the world won’t change the fact that people have gotten used to getting rich media for free on the Internets.

Adam Frucci of Gizmodo puts it nicely: “The magazine industry seems to think that by taking content that works perfectly fine on websites—text, images and video—and mushing them into a weird version of page-based magazines, people will treat them like the old format and will be willing to pay for them.”

And if people aren’t willing to pay for them, there are plenty of newfangled magazines like Gizmodo where they can get their druthers.

What can a magazine tablet do that Firefox can’t? The question should be: What can it do that you’d be willing to pay for by buying a subscription—unless advertisers make up the difference?

Media Post has a nice roundup of the Web’s reaction to the news. AllThingsD has the rundown on what we know so far. Below, a video of Time’s vision for what digital magazines could look like.  —PZS

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