Virgin readies Apple iPad magazine

Apple iPad gets Virgin publication
Apple iPad gets Virgin publication

Virgin is preparing a magazine which will be specifically targeted at the Apple iPad and other tablets. This could lead to a showdown between Virgin’s Richard Branson and Rupert Murdoch, who is also prepping an iPad-specific publication.

There aren’t many details about what the Virgin magazine would entail except that it would be a paperless “revolutionary multimedia” publication. That’s obviously some PR fluff but it wouldn’t be out of the question to assume that it will include written content, videos and interactive material. It’s a good bet that the Virgin magazine on the iPad will focus on entertainment, travel and leisure.

The move comes as News Corp. is readying its own iPad-specific publication called The Daily. Murdoch and News Corp. have already hired about 100 staff members to work on this project and early reports indicate that it will be an iPad-only publication. That means that it won’t be accessible on the web but I would be surprised if it didn’t come to other tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

The Virgin magazine and The Daily are trying to capitalize on the coming wave of tablets. This market is expected to reach 100 million within a few years, with the iPad leading the way.

That’s why other news companies are targeting this form factor, as the Wall Street Journal just released an Android tablet app. It’s unclear if this model is fully sustainable – although you lose the overhead of printing and delivering the publication, the ad rates on digital-only publications generally aren’t as high as they used to be with old media.

Apple may give this market a large boost next month, as iOS 4.3 may be released with a subscription plan. This will make it easier for publications to get users and Apple will supposedly share the customer demographic data, too.

[Via The Guardian]

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