Wednesday, June 16, 2010

News Corp Buys Skiff

News Corporation continues on its somewhat unclear digital strategy and the company has announced the acquisition of the digital Skiff platform from Hearst. Skiff delivers digital newspaper and magazine content to tablets and e-readers, with the capability to deliver high-resolution graphics, rich typography and dynamic updates. News Corp has also taken a stake in Journalism Online which is designed to help online press establish pricing and payment structures and set up the “metered mode” to enable a certain amount of content to be given away free.

So what is Skiff? When Hearst first showed it off it was certainly a big format eInk reader but with the emergence of the iPad and the queue of ‘wantabes’ its hardly a smart reader anymore. Like the Plastic Logic reader it simply took too long to get off the launch pad and by the time it got close it was in danger of looking tired and old. A black and white TV, in a HDTV Technicolour world.

It’s unclear whether News Corp. will develop Skiff as a mere platform or continue to develop it as a device. However it is clear that they are serious about making content pay.

News Corp has struggled with its digital strategy, most notably their acquisition of MySpace and their ability to tie together the disparate parts of their digital empire. The other aspect that is interesting is News Corps ability to go in what appears the opposite direction to the market and their competitors.

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