Time Inc's Manhattan Project Revealed: Tablet Magazine

Time Inc's Manhattan Project Revealed: Tablet Magazine

Gregory Han
Dec 2, 2009

Jesus Diaz over at Gizmodo rips Time Inc. and the big players in print media a new one with his scathing, if not rational at the core, assessment of Time Inc's "Manhattan Project", a tablet magazine concept designed in the hopes of regaining lost ground supposedly lost to online content sources. Give a look at the video sneak peek of Time Inc's new digital magazine concept and decide for yourself.

Underwhelmed as much as we are? To be frank, we're in the same camp as Jesus here after watching the numerous videos and reviewing the details of the news magazine tablet proposal. It seems like a backward step in the hopes of forcing users forward...forward to a pricing and delivery scheme with its back end planted in the past.

"I'm sorry, Time Inc. and Condé Nast and Murdochs of the world, but magazines are not dying because they are printed on paper. They are going under because many other factors. Here are some of them: Reduced attention spans, reader's demand for instant satisfaction, and a general change in visual culture and codes that have rendered the page concept obsolete in favor of more anarchic, time-organized information structures, as well as non-linear ones."

As someone who began his career in the print industry and who still prefers printed matter over online content in many instances, Time Inc's new digital magazine concept still comes off reeking of the same backward thinking that stifled publishing in the first place. In essence, how's this any different from a website other than the switch back to a conent subscription based system? And do you want to pay "up to $50 a year" to access a glorified PDF with Twitter feeds and links embedded into a magazine-like format? Adding a few swipe gestures and razzle-dazzle for the techphobic newspaper/magazine reader does not make for a revolution, publishers. We're confident in time someone will get it right, but we're now pretty sure it will come from a small upstart and not from the likes of Time Inc., whose feet seem cemented in the past and unable to traverse through this transitional period in media delivery.

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