A popular trope in children’s television is the “five team,” exemplified by shows like Power Rangers or Voltron: the heroes are a team made up of five individuals with different (often clashing) personalities who invariably have to get over their differences and combine their powers at the end to fight off the villain.
That was the first thing that came to mind when I saw a story in AdAge about five print-publishing giants who are getting together to form a common digital storefront.
I actually covered part of this story before, when I wrote about how Condé Nast is readying Wired Magazine for the Apple Tablet well before anything was actually known about the device. But now it turns out that Condé Nast is working with Time, Inc., Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, Hearst Magazines, and Meredith Corp. to settle on common standards and formats to use when the tablet comes around.
But unlike in Voltron, the group of publishers hasn’t decided who will “form the head” yet. “Details still to be figured out include the business plan, who to hire as CEO, which technologies to adopt, what consumer brand name to bring to market, the contours of the consumer experience, and how aggressively to market itself,” the article says.
Even as they get together, some of the five are still betting on their own horses. Condé Nast has the partnership with Adobe mentioned in the link above. Hearst is behind the Skiff, and Time has demonstrated a tablet reader for Sports Illustrated.
This “five team” comparison is starting to seem more apt than I had originally imagined. It still remains to be seen whether these five publishers can “get over their differences and combine their powers” to win in the end.