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Sports Illustrated Bets on the Tablet

In conjunction with the upcoming debut of tablet computers, Sports Illustrated is developing a tablet-friendly new offering that will marry components of the magazine’s print and digital versions.

The move is the latest in a string of efforts by other newspapers and magazines, hard-hard hit by the recession and reader migration to the web, which are looking for new media on which to share their content and attract new advertisers. Last month, Conde Nast announced plans for a similar tablet-friendly offering for its magazines.

The Sports Illustrated tablet offering will feature the magazine’s content, other selected material from its website, and ads enhanced with video, store finders, and other functionalities, AdAge reports. Users will be able to flip through the pages as if they were reading the print version, but will also have the ability to rearrange sections or specific articles as they choose.

Enhanced Features

In addition, SI readers will have access to a variety of additional features, including the ability to re-order articles, sort through the magazine’s contents, post comments, pull up related content from previous issues, get alerts on live sports events, share articles via e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter, and access sports stats.

Another feature under consideration is a gaming function tied to live sports events on TV. SI hopes that its offering will be available by next summer, when it anticipates three to five tablet computers - including possible devices from Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and others - will be available on the market. Terry McDonell, editor of the Sports Illustrated Group, told the Washington Post that he believes users will be willing to pay for the tablet offering.

Advertisers and agencies are also being approached to gauge their interest in marketing with the tablet-friendly issues. SI worked with The Wonderfactory to develop the offering.

Magazines Going Mobile & Online

Other major magazines are also looking to mobile and subscription-based online offerings to boost revenues. Last week, GQ launched its first iPhone app that included a replica of its December 2009 "Men of the Year" issue.  And in October, Time Inc. began working on a new digital magazine store that will service the growing number of e-reader users.

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