Ad Age reports that Virgin is planning to extend its brand into consumer magazines with the launch of a new title, Maverick, which will be available exclusively as an app for the iPad, iPhone and eventually, Android.
If the venture is successful, Virgin hopes to establish itself as a leader in digital magazines.
As I say here any chance I get, brands are in the media business today. Clearly, some, more so than others.
For a less welcoming point of view, let’s turn to Scott Merrill of CrunchGear, who has some concerns.
…why release an app for a magazine, rather than a more portable digital format of a magazine that could also be enjoyed on e-book readers like the Kindle or the Nook? Why go through the hassle of building apps for disparate platforms rather than build an online-only magazine? (Actually, I know the answer to this: so you can read the magazine offline; but it’s still worth exploring)
Also, we’re slowing moving more and more of our culture into the ephemeral realm of the all-digital. How will Maverick — and future digital publications — be archived for posterity? How will researchers of the future be able to find, let alone cite, content in these “magazines”? How can libraries make these things available to their patrons? There are many unanswered questions.
I might add that digital-only magazines create an unserved market for their wares, which means there’s opportunity for an entrepreneur who can deliver printed-on-paper titles to Luddite readers on behalf of media companies who can no longer be bothered with such weighty matters.