AN AMAZON ARRIVES TO BATTLE APPLE: As Amazon.com chief executive officer Jeff Bezos introduced his new tablet, the Kindle Fire, during a press conference Wednesday morning in Manhattan, big, colorful flashes of Vanity Fair, Esquire, Marie Claire and Wired were among the titles that got big play to the journalist audience. On Nov. 15, when Amazon’s new tablet is shipped for the first time, Hearst will have all of its magazines on the device, while Condé Nast will offer 17 titles.
“What they’ve done is very smart — they’ve counter-programmed to Apple,” said John Loughlin, executive vice president, general manager at Hearst. “As a function of price, if Apple is Mercedes, then Amazon is Ford, as Ford sells multiple times the product of a Mercedes. The Fire is affordable and it’s very well designed.”
This story first appeared in the September 29, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Kindle Fire will sell for $199, well below the starting iPad price of $499. And that’s not the only attraction for publishing companies: As part of its agreement with Amazon, Hearst will have a more robust data-sharing arrangement than it currently has with Apple, said Loughlin, but he declined to reveal how much information will actually be shared. Apple generally has been stingy about sharing data with magazine publishers.
At launch, Condé Nast will offer an exclusive three-month free trial on any magazine it sells on the Fire. “The [lower] price is huge for the Fire, and I think that opens us up to a lot of new markets,” said Monica Ray, executive vice president, consumer marketing, at Condé Nast. She declined to talk about terms of data sharing with Amazon, and both publishing companies also would not cough up their revenue-sharing plans, but sources said they will be similar to Apple’s, which takes 30 percent of revenue while 70 percent goes to the publishers.
Meredith will initially introduce three titles on the Kindle Fire — Fitness, Parents and Better Homes and Gardens — and all of Rodale’s titles will be available. Both companies already have many of their titles on the iPad. Time Inc. is the only major publisher that doesn’t have a deal with Amazon yet. A Time Inc. spokeswoman said talks are ongoing and the goal is to have all of its titles on tablets by the end of this year. Time Inc.’s Real Simple on Oct. 8 will launch exclusively on the Nook Color.