By: Jennifer Saba
Hearst Corp. finally revealed more about its e-reader service Friday with the forthcoming launch of Skiff.
Formerly known as First Paper, Skiff is a service, device and digital store that specializes in the delivery of magazine and newspaper content to e-readers. It also electronically distributes books and blogs. The e-reading service platform will launch in 2010 and will serve multiple devices such as smartphones and netbooks.
According to Skiff, content delivered by the service will feature high-resolution graphics and dynamic updates. Skiff will let publishers shape publication design but also allow for advertising.
“Skiff’s goal is to connect publishers and marketers with consumers,” Gilbert Fuchsberg, Skiff’s president, said in a statement. “We will accomplish this be delivering engaging reading experiences that consumers will value and a business model that respects publishers’ needs.”
One of the most important aspects to Skiff’s offerings involves the delivery of advertising. Skiff is working with advertisers, agencies and publishers to develop standards, formats and metrics for e-reading. Nielsen Online (E&P’s sister company) and comScore are involved with Skiff to help facilitate planning and buying.
Skiff is partnering with semiconductor company Marvell to create a chip that will accelerate the development of high-performance e-readers. “Skiff signifies a new era in live content distribution — anywhere, anytime, even any size delivery of high-quality text, images and graphics all tailored to the always-on demands of today’s consumers,” Weili Dai, Marvell co-founder and general manager, said in a statement.
Skiff signed a multi-year agreement with Sprint to provide 3G connectivity for the Skiff e-reader device, which will be made available at Sprint retail outlets.
Hearst has invested and grown Skiff, which operates as a separate company with offices in New York and Palo Alto, Calif. Along with Fuchsberg, who previously led the interactive services business at Interpublic Group, other executives include the following:
Lee Ali Shirani, senior vice president of corporate development, who was most recently at Sony and helped with the launch of the Sony Reader.
Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, chief marketing officer, who was formerly an executive at Cingular/AT&T.
Mark Foster, senior vice president of engineering, who was the chief engineer of Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child, and also led Powerbook engineering at Apple.
Serge Rutman, chief technology officer, was most recently with Intel where he led R&D initiatives.
Vincent Le Chevalier, senior vice president of platform development, who was also a senior executive at iSurfTV.
Gary Fu, vice president of logistics, who most recently served as general manager of Palm’s Asia Pacific Design.
Cliff Guren, vice president of content acquisition, the former senior director of publisher evangelism at Microsoft.