Barry Diller, the Chairman of AC/InterActiveCorp, and film producer Scott Rudin have banded together to form a new digital publishing company. The new initiative will be called Brightline and will publish ebooks and eventually physical books in a partnership with Atavist.
Just what the world needs, another company getting into digital publishing, right? Except these two guys have a wealth of connections and industry experience building entertainment properties. Atavist was formed by freelance journalist Evan Ratliff and New Yorker senior editor Nick Thompson. The essence of Atavist is that it is a boutique publishing house producing original nonfiction stories for digital reading devices. Atavist juxtaposes various digital forms that lie in the space between long narrative magazine articles and traditional books and ebooks. The company empowers you to publish digitally and offers your stories individually—a bit like music singles in iTunes. Atavist presents stories longer and more in depth than typical magazines, but less expensive and more dynamic than traditional books.
Brightline has raised around $20 million dollars in private equity from IAC and intends on making further investments into the development of Atavist. It will be interesting to see if all of these minds can come together and actually release a viable platform.
There are severe doubts in the publishing world if these companies can compete against the myriad of self-publishing options from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords. It is not enough these days to launch a start-up digital publishing company without attracting marque talent to draw attention to it. The problem is that all the big names are quite happy doing business with the large companies and small indie names will not be enough for Brightline to have any sort of market presence.