Friday, January 7, 2005

Airport Bookstore Chain to Open Times-Branded Outlets: Content's Increasingly About Venues

The New York Times announced its agreement with Paradies Shops, an airport concessionaire with 350 outlets in 61 airports in North America, to open a chain of Times-branded bookstores in airport locations. A reporter called me on this story earlier this week and his clip on the Marketplace radio show (3:32 into audio)emphasized the synergies between the Times bestseller list and potential book sales. That's certainly a starting point for this use of the New York Times brand, a brand that is used in numerous outlets such as cable television and books to emphasize its still-powerful value. But my thought is that this represents a much more important foot in the water. With newspapers and conventional print waning in value and electronic content gaining strength, expect these Times kiosks to become experimental wayports for travelers wanting to download eBooks, eJournals, music and other kinds of content from special "hot spots" in the store, as well as allowing conversion of electronic content into convenient print format for flipping through on the plane. With network providers getting ten bucks a pop for wireless access in many airports the between-flight "share of wallet" will need some more powerful alternatives than conventional analog content to make best use of these footprints in the long run.
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