Virgin and publishing company Seven Squared are planning to launch a new consumer magazine that will be available exclusively as an app for iPad, iPhone and eventually Android devices, according to AdAge.
The magazine, titled Maverick, will reportedly focus on the entrepreneurial space, highlighting “new creative, business, travel and technology ideas” to an “upscale international audience,” a la Fast Company and WIRED. Consultancy AI will oversee the magazine’s creative duties.
Maverick is tentatively scheduled to launch in October — if Holly Branson, the 28-year old daughter of Virgin’s Founder and Chairman Sir Richard Branson, can persuade enough premium advertisers to sign up by then. According to an executive “close to the matter,” response has been so positive that the title may very well be able to choose which brands it will sign for the first round of advertising contracts.
Besides an airline, gyms, broadband, phone, TV and half-a-dozen other products and services, Virgin already distributes a handful of magazines in conjunction with publishing companies, including in-flight magazine Seatback and entertainment title Electric!. However, these titles are handed out to customers rather than marketed to the general public.
Between rising production and distribution costs and declining ad revenue, magazines have had a rough few years. Devices like the iPhone and iPad have created new opportunities for distribution (WIRED sold more iPad than print editions of its magazine last month) and premium advertising (some publishers have commanded between $75,000 to $300,000 for seasonal advertising campaigns on the iPad, The New York Times reports).
The venture could mark the beginning of yet another industry shakeup — i.e., the onslaught of new, all-digital magazines that aren’t saddled with expensive print versions. What’s more, titles like Maverick will be able to more competitively price their product because they won’t have to match it to the price of newsstand issues.
“More than eight million people will own iPads by the end of the year,” the Virgin executive commented. “It’s the fastest-selling gadget ever and it’s the most exciting thing to happen to the magazine market in a long time, but no one has yet got it right.”
[img credit: hotmayo]