Why The Magazine Consortium Should Buy the JooJoo
Posted December 8, 2009on:
Today, five leading publishers including Time Inc., Conde Nast, Meredith, Hearst and News Corporation announced the formation of a new venture to develop a digital storefront and a common reading application that will allow consumers to enjoy their favorite magazine and newspaper content on any platform they choose.
We already know that the next generation of mobile devices will be loaded with color touchscreens, flexible displays, video capabilities and other features that will make them ideal for consuming rich content and an appealing environment for advertisers. These devices will allow us to combine the best of what consumers love about magazines – quality, curated journalism, engaging content and beautiful photography – with the speed, convenience and portability of the latest technology.
The consortium has its work cut out for it—I’ll lay out a few of the hurdles facing it in a later post. But before I get to that, I’d like to make a crazy recommendation: The first thing it should do is buy the JooJoo.
It’s a foregone conclusion that, given the litigious back story between Mike Arrington and Fusion Garage—both of whom are asserting ownership of the device—that it’ll never see the light of day. This thing will be buried under a blizzard of lawsuits, and by the time it’s unearthed, we’ll all be toting around HD monofilament displays provided free by Google to anyone who gets the Google implant in their heads…
But this outcome can be avoided, boys. Call off the lawyers, and sell the thing to the consortium!
When you watch the demo video of the JooJoo, the first thing that strikes you—aside from how cool the device looks—is how poorly it works on the Web! It’s slow, clunky and, for Web work at least, you really want a keyboard.
By contrast, it would be so much better as a Kindle killer—an e-reader of the first order. Seriously: Imagine reading this on that. Instead of browsing the Web, imagine downloading magazines, books and other media to it. Imagine if the gazillions of subscribers to the consortium’s magazines and newspapers were able to get one of these things for under $200, in exchange for subscriptions.
The JooJoo could address an even bigger issue for the publishers. One of the biggest problems magazine (and newspaper) makers have, in envisioning the future, is it’s a rapidly moving target. Who do we develop for? Which devices? Do we build for the rumored Apple iThing? Do we build in Flash/Air? Do we make our mags and newspapers in HTML5? Having a tablet right now would save us all a huge amount of trouble and guess work, and allow us to build our businesses faster.
The consortium, after all, is all about control. If that’s the way the publishing companies want to go, control over the device is of paramount importance and will be a game changer, not to mention a time saver.