Could this be the start of the end of the in-flight magazine?

Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson during the ...

I’m conscious of giving the iPad too much airplay but there doesn’t seem to be an end to the number of new applications for this ground breaking device. Here’s a post from Richard Branson’s blog announcing the PROJECT, an iPad-only magazine produced by Virgin. It’s freshly launched and now available through the App Store.

It’s a new initiative being spearheaded by Richard’s daughter Holly, who also looks after ‘special projects’ at Virgin (how do you get a job like that?). From the promotional video the magazine takes advantage of all the bells and whistles of the iPad and delivers beautiful animated content that is well and truly in line with what you would expect from Virgin and Apple. It’s a bit like the animated newspapers and portraits you see in the Harry Potter movies – a true example of a multimedia publication.

While the online multimedia magazine idea is not that new, the interesting part is that Virgin has targeted a specific platform – the iPad. This makes an assumption that the iPad will continue to be the leading tablet platform – a fairly safe assumption in my opinion as it has gained an incredible head start on the market and will do for at least the next 2 years.

It’s not just about the choice of the iPad as a platform that makes sense for Virgin. Sure the iPad is a great piece of gear that supports the multimedia format exceptionally well, but other tablets will soon catch up and may surpass the original idea. It’s Apple’s iTunes as a delivery platform that really clinches the deal. Here we have a proven ready-made distribution platform all ready to go that is accessible to everyone who owns a device!

One can only guess where this will lead for Virgin. PROJECT is the perfect opportunity to reinforce the Virgin brand and to promote cross-selling across the group. Content can be easily customised to the location of the reader as can promotions, cross-selling opportunities and information. It’s a marketer’s dream platform and one that doesn’t involve the killing of any trees to produce an issue.

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