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Publisher Hearst releases plans for digital magazine, newspaper service

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Hearst Corp. plans to launch a service sometime in 2010 to sell digital subscriptions of magazines and newspapers intended to be viewed on e-readers, cell phones, and tablets.

Dubbed Skiff, Hearst Corp.'s planned digital periodical distribution portal is poised to rival Amazon's Kindle store at providing virtual newspapers and magazines to a variety of electronic devices. Hearst wants to create a full service system with a digital storefront along with a distribution back-end to allow publishers to easily deliver content.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Skiff has been in development for more than two years. Several other companies have signed on to be part of the service alongside Hearst's newspapers and magazines, but have not yet been named.

"The platforms and devices that other people are building are not really appropriate for newspapers and magazines," Kenneth A. Bronfin, president of Hearst Interactive Media reportedly said. "We are going to create an entity by publishers for publishers."

Skiff is also reportedly developing its own digital media device using Sprint Nextel Corp's wireless network to deliver content. Hearst said that it will offer subscriptions on some other e-readers as well as netbooks and smartphones - including Apple's iPhone.

Hearst competitor Time Inc. recently demoed an example of its digital magazine format that may compete with Skiff as a platform. It was reported several weeks ago that rumors had surfaced over the creation of plans for a multi-publisher iTunes-like digital store for selling magazines which seems would also be a competitor to this service.
post #2 of 32
I imagine Apple was pitching an iTunes for magazines and newspapers idea; from the recent news it looks like Time and Hearst, at least, are interested in going it on their own. Understandable, if Apple's pitch included the kind of device/vendor lock-in that iTunes has managed for music, but it's also that lock-in that helped push legal downloads past their infancy.

But now these publishers need to be careful. If each one of them comes up with a different format and distribution model, they'll needlessly hamper widespread adoption of digital periodicals, just like they were doing with music before Apple came along.
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post #3 of 32
No more "Read all about it!" heard on a street corner ...

oops showing my age with that joke!
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #4 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post


But now these publishers need to be careful. If each one of them comes up with a different format and distribution model, they'll needlessly hamper widespread adoption of digital periodicals, just like they were doing with music before Apple came along.

So true on the rival formats - we have seen that fail so often. Maybe some will try both Apple and their own in parallel unless SJ says it's iTunes only or nothing. My money is on Apple pulling out ahead fast though, they have been planning this a long time and not rushed to market by any stretch of the imagination. Apple could have come up with a Kindle killer a while back. They have something totally new up their sleeves IMHO.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #5 of 32
Heh.

Apple has talked to the publishers just like they talked to the cell phone companies.

And they are scared shitless.

Good luck Hearst. :loll:

Because I for one know that I will not be purchasing an electronic device from a magazine publisher.
post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

I imagine Apple was pitching an iTunes for magazines and newspapers idea; from the recent news it looks like Time and Hearst, at least, are interested in going it on their own. Understandable, if Apple's pitch included the kind of device/vendor lock-in that iTunes has managed for music, but it's also that lock-in that helped push legal downloads past their infancy.

But now these publishers need to be careful. If each one of them comes up with a different format and distribution model, they'll needlessly hamper widespread adoption of digital periodicals, just like they were doing with music before Apple came along.

It sure seems like Apple may have been pitching to publishers as the rumours stated, but if they havent it wouldnt be the first time technologic symmetry has occurred. Is there a name for that phenomenon?

Now in the digital age the instant exchange of ideas both in text and imagery makes can potentially make this even more common to the point of being synergistic (if I can use that term here).

I admit that I didnt see how a tablet computer would be a viable device for a couple years of Ireland posting mockups. I conceive of the newspapers and magazines offering subscriptions or textbook publishers offering digital books with an OS with integrated mark up to mimic the benefits of a physical book. I only saw the Mac OS X UI that was pasted on it and kept thinking about how much Windows on a tablet is simply wrong and wouldnt work.

Is the iTunes LP and Extras formats the format that Apple will be pushing with HTML5, CSS and JS at the core? This does allow for each publisher to make their own pages as they see fit, so long as they are using open standards, yet allows for Apple (or other vendors) to DRM the content either as a package like iPhone apps or just the media content within. The iTunes LP and Extras submission process is said be going full automated early next year. Is this just in time for the tablet to start shipping? (obviously these questions are rhetorical)
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post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by iansilv View Post

Because I for one know that I will not be purchasing an electronic device from a magazine publisher.

I think Apple has(had) a pretty easy sell here. They have proven themselves capable of making HW people want and legitimizing online distribution. They have the tools and services in place. But most importantly, print is dying and websites dont much money from ads or get many subscribers so the publishers are in dire straights right now. I can see Apple coming in looking like a saviour. If may be a deal with the devil but I cant see them saying no and losing a potential long term revenue stream. Who else can offer what Apple can offer and has the proof to back up their ability to make a product and service work? I cant think of any.
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post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I think Apple has(had) a pretty easy sell here. They have proven themselves capable of making HW people want and legitimizing online distribution. They have the tools and services in place. But most importantly, print is dying and websites don’t much money from ads or get many subscribers so the publishers are in dire straights right now. I can see Apple coming in looking like a saviour. If may be a deal with the devil but I can’t see them saying no and losing a potential long term revenue stream. Who else can offer what Apple can offer and has the proof to back up their ability to make a product and service work? I can’t think of any.

Publisher's made it VERY clear that they would not let Apple control the situation. They are working together for a media that is platform independent and they will control the distribution just like they have for the last 100 years.

It may be a new era but pulishers learned a lot from Apple and will make sure it is platform independent media that can be accessed from both touch e-readers as well as generic browsers on every platform.

iDon't think the Apple Tablet is going to have a chance unless it's $300 and not tied to any carrier.
post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I think Apple has(had) a pretty easy sell here. They have proven themselves capable of making HW people want and legitimizing online distribution. They have the tools and services in place. But most importantly, print is dying and websites dont much money from ads or get many subscribers so the publishers are in dire straights right now. I can see Apple coming in looking like a saviour. If may be a deal with the devil but I cant see them saying no and losing a potential long term revenue stream. Who else can offer what Apple can offer and has the proof to back up their ability to make a product and service work? I cant think of any.

And yet the entrenched media industries seem to be dead set on shooting themselves in the foot. They don't want to be "content providers" for somebody else's system, they want to be end to end proprietary vertical integrators. And, I suspect, they are particularly wary of Apple, because they don't want to be in the position of the record labels two or three years down the line.

Why the hell would a publishing company imagine that they were qualified to make a tablet? Because they've mastered printing presses? Why would they imagine that consumers want to have to download and install a bunch of different software, just for the privilege of accessing their stuff?

I dunno, I don't think we can underestimate the hubris of these guys. They may have told Apple to take a walk, that they had it all under control.
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post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngusYoung View Post

Publisher's made it VERY clear that they would not let Apple control the situation. They are working together for a media that is platform independent and they will control the distribution just like they have for the last 100 years.

Since when have most publishers controlled the entire distribution? Newspapers, sure, when they used to be delivered to your doorstep, but most periodicals are simply sold to stores that sell them. Why would this change now when many are at death’s door.

Can you post a source for this news that they are working together on a format or platform? I hope it’s true but I am very skeptical that can come together and make something that they have direct or indirect experience doing.

Quote:
It may be a new era but pulishers learned a lot from Apple and will make sure it is platform independent media that can't be accessed from both touch e-readers as well as generic browsers on every platform.

They want it to be platform independent while also not being platform independent. I could understand if you said, like I stated, that they wanted to use open standards but then protect it from being copied by packaging secure versions for different devices.

Quote:
iDon't think the Apple Tablet is going to have a chance unless it's $300 and not tied to any carrier.

“iDon’t”? … Oi vey! I think the Tablet has a chance so long as it’s a real device and not some cheap piece of crap that sells for $300 free and clear. How much are the Nook and Kindle and you see what you get for that price. I honestly can’t think of a single tablet that is even close to $300 with a 10” display and the power to play videos in full screen. If you have an example of one please post it.
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post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Why the hell would a publishing company imagine that they were qualified to make a tablet? Because they've mastered printing presses? Why would they imagine that consumers want to have to download and install a bunch of different software, just for the privilege of accessing their stuff?
.

Time Inc and Hearst are Billion dollar corporations. Do you honestly believe that with 50 magazines at least between the two of them and who knows else is in on the game that they haven't planned this out.

Neither company is going to go it with their own media player. With a tablet coming out every other day they don't have to. Apple may have a tablet but they will have to stands in line to get distribution rights just like ever other vendor.

Any device that has a Google OS platform has an advantage. No/Low OS cost and it's already compatible with every publishers plans.
post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Since when have most publishers controlled the distribution? Newspapers, sure, when they used to be delivered to your doorstep, but most periodicals are simply sold to stores that sell them. Why would this change now when many are at death’s door.

By you extremely uneducated, ignorant posting you don't know that the publisher has always controlled the print/bind and distribution. They actually have people on staff at the printers that have a stop watch from last form in to first truck out for delivery. Normally in under an hour.

They mean billions of dollars to printers and printers do what ever they say. One missed truck can mean losing an entire contract if it was a big issue like Tiger Woods this week.

Stick to your 40 paragraph replies that have no content and sit this one out. You are not even remotely experienced enough in publishing or printing to make any comment that is worth reading.
post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngusYoung View Post

Any device that has a Google OS platform has an advantage. No/Low OS cost and it's already compatible with every publishers plans.

So this epiphany these publishers have is to continue to use a failing business model of selling ad space on websites and being unable to get enough paid subscribers to make their business viable again. Um, Houston we have a problem.
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post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

So this epiphany these publishers have is to continue to use a failing business model of selling ad space on websites and being unable to get enough paid subscribers to make their business viable again. Um, Houston we have a problem.

I said sit this one out otherwise you are going to look even more foolish than you do in your normal postings.

The publisher's have spent billions of dollars and the last 5 years at least planning this out.
PDF was the first execution in rudemetary forms and then partnerships in building the demo that was Flash driven not a true demo. The hands were Adobe Illustrator drawings morphed using CS5 PhotoShop.

It has grown to far more than the demo showed and will be driven by the publisher.

Put it this way. If the publisher's are wrong then Apple has no chance at a Tablet.

If they are right then Apple will ride along with every other vendor and take what ever percentage the publishers are willing to give the vendors as the music industry has. Given the model of the iTunes store not making money (or very little) it doesn't look compelling for Apple in either event.
post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngusYoung;

Publisher's made it VERY clear that they would not let Apple control the situation. They are working together for a media that is platform independent and they will control the distribution just like they have for the last 100 years.

It may be a new era but pulishers learned a lot from Apple and will make sure it is platform independent media that can be accessed from both touch e-readers as well as generic browsers on every platform.

iDon't think the Apple Tablet is going to have a chance unless it's $300 and not tied to any carrier.

I am not sure that Apple is looking to 'control' the situation in terms of a user 'lock in' system and publisher 'lock out' system. Apple has a real advantage here - a huge use base coupled with a mature distribution system. Apple needs content and the publishers will absolutely need Apple's ready-to-go distribution infrastructure. There is not neccessarily a conflict, on the contrary. Competing devices may well play into Apples hands in terms of marketing and exposure.
post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngusYoung View Post

I said sit this one out otherwise you are going to look even more foolish than you do in your normal postings.

The publisher's have spent billions of dollars and the last 5 years at least planning this out.
PDF was the first execution in rudemetary forms and then partnerships in building the demo that was Flash driven not a true demo. The hands were Adobe Illustrator drawings morphed using CS5 PhotoShop.

It has grown to far more than the demo showed and will be driven by the publisher.

Put it this way. If the publisher's are wrong then Apple has no chance at a Tablet.

If they are right then Apple will ride along with every other vendor and take what ever percentage the publishers are willing to give the vendors as the music industry has. Given the model of the iTunes store not making money (or very little) it doesn't look compelling for Apple in either event.

You can try to get me riled up you will fail. Speaking of failing, how about this proof of over a half-decade of multi-publisher SW and services development that you are touting.

BTW, I (and moat of the posters here) can name a lot of billion dollar corporations that have spent excessive amounts of money of complete failures. Even ones that had experience in the business they were competing in so you might want to temper your posts a bit until you have some proof and a valid argument as to why you think they can't fail.
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post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

I am not sure that Apple is looking to 'control' the situation in terms of a user 'lock in' system and publisher 'lock out' system. Apple has a real advantage here - a huge use base coupled with a mature distribution system. Apple needs content and the publishers will absolutely need Apple's ready-to-go distribution infrastructure. There is not neccessarily a conflict, on the contrary. Competing devices may well play into Apples hands in terms of marketing and exposure.

Apple doesn't make money from the iTunes and if they do very little given the financial exposure they have to keep it running (speaking in terms of music apps).

Publishers already know it's a mess. You search for a song and get 44 apps that happen to have the same word you were looking for.

Add Digital Print to the mess that iTunes already is. Publishers don't want somebody searching for Tom Brady and getting hits for the Brady Bunch music.
If publishers want people to search for magazine content they don't want Apps, Music or any other content to come up on their hit list.

It's very simple, it's going to happen, and will Apple make iTunes a worthy distribution Model that publishers will accept. Amazon, Google & Bing (Microsoft) will and know how big this is.

Apple can be arrogant but I would guess they will play the game along with the other players.
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

You can try to get me riled up you will fail. Speaking of failing, how about this proof of over a half-decade of multi-publisher SW and services development that you are touting.

BTW, I (and moat of the posters here) can name a lot of billion dollar corporations that have spent excessive amounts of money of complete failures. Even ones that had experience in the business they were competing in so you might want to temper your posts a bit until you have some proof and a valid argument as to why you think they can't fail.

It's not worth my time.

And given your postings all it takes to get you "riled up" is to disagree with you. I don't spar with unworthy competitors.

For once, do your own research or have the ties in the industry to prove me false. You of all the posters in this forum are not worth my time.

Prove me wrong, otherwise don't reply. Crystal Clear I Hope.
post #19 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngusYoung View Post

It's not worth my time.

And given your postings all it takes to get you "riled up" is to disagree with you. I don't spar with unworthy competitors.

For once, do your own research or have the ties in the industry to prove me false. You of all the posters in this forum are not worth my time.

Prove me wrong, otherwise don't reply. Crystal Clear I Hope.

I for one, haven't a clue how it will all shake out. But, given your tone I think your handle should be Anus Dung.
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post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by CurtisEMayle View Post

I for one, haven't a clue how it will all shake out. But, given your tone I think your handle should be Anus Dung.

"I don't spar with unworthy competitors"? Comic book guy, is that you?
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post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by iansilv View Post

Heh.

Apple has talked to the publishers just like they talked to the cell phone companies.

And they are scared shitless.

Good luck Hearst. :loll:

Because I for one know that I will not be purchasing an electronic device from a magazine publisher.

ANYWAYS GUYS, the tone of this thread has gone too juvenile/negative.

But yes, I can easily imagine publishers thinking, "Oh God, we can't be the record company that refused to sell songs online...or the wireless carriers that didn't give the iPhone a chance..." The situations/industries may not be exactly the same but Apple probably has more leverage/credibility than any other tech company.

Seeing as we haven't yet seen this mythical product, I'm still unsure whether it could be a successful product. But if anyone can do it, it's Apple.
post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

"I don't spar with unworthy competitors"? Comic book guy, is that you?

You’re always have funny and clever posts but this post made me bust a gut.


(Comic Life is about as close to “photoshopping” as I like to go, as I’m capable of going)
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post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngusYoung View Post

It's not worth my time.

man, you are one arrogant bastard. its people like you that are going to muck up what could be a great opportunity for publishers and apple alike. thank you for bestowing us with your wisdom.
post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngusYoung View Post

Publisher's made it VERY clear that they would not let Apple control the situation. They are working together for a media that is platform independent and they will control the distribution just like they have for the last 100 years.

It may be a new era but pulishers learned a lot from Apple and will make sure it is platform independent media that can be accessed from both touch e-readers as well as generic browsers on every platform.

iDon't think the Apple Tablet is going to have a chance unless it's $300 and not tied to any carrier.

Agreed. All the publishers have to do is look at music and iTunes. That's probably why they have been saying "no thanks" as they don't want their content to be tied down to an expensive piece of closed ended hardware. No way.

H will make sure it's open source.

I mean geez. Look at ABC LOST. Youncan go to the website, watch maybe 4 :15 to :30 interactive commercials or mute them and watch seasons 1, seasons 2, seasons 3, seasons 4 and most of five for free OR go to itunes and pay $1.99' to $2.99 per episode that you can't even share. Thus no DVD on apple tv and no flash on iPhone


Inse this as big and if educational books come out think how big microsofts courier could become. It's all about pen ended systems. Not closed
post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngusYoung View Post

Time Inc and Hearst are Billion dollar corporations. Do you honestly believe that with 50 magazines at least between the two of them and who knows else is in on the game that they haven't planned this out.

Neither company is going to go it with their own media player. With a tablet coming out every other day they don't have to. Apple may have a tablet but they will have to stands in line to get distribution rights just like ever other vendor.

Apple knows how to make money from digital distribution and they have the infrastructure already in place. These traditional publishers are like dinosaurs at a trackmeet--unable to compete, just standing around waiting to die. In the end, money talks and bullshit walks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AngusYoung View Post

Any device that has a Google OS platform has an advantage. No/Low OS cost and it's already compatible with every publishers plans.

In many of your posts you like to point out how the rumored Apple tablet doesn't exist. I'd like to take this opportunity to remind you that the Google OS also doesn't exist as a shippable product ... and yet you are already proclaiming that it "has an advantage"??
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by hiimamac View Post

Agreed. All the publishers have to do is look at music and iTunes. That's probably why they have been saying "no thanks" as they don't want their content to be tied down to an expensive piece of closed ended hardware. No way.

When did they say "No Thanks"?! and who said it will be tied to one hardware? With the success of iTunes and the App Store I don't think they will pass. Beside, NYTimes is offered on Amazon Kindle. Does that mean they are locked in to that specific platform?

I don't know why some here think just because it is on AI then everyone here believe it will be on Mac only. They are proposing a concept that should be platform independent. For this to work the publishers need to supply the contents and let others (Apple, Google, MS... etc) develop the end user software. The catch here is that they will need to agree on a standard.
post #27 of 32
I think now that the industry understands that Apple is just around the corner with their take on "e-reading" they feel they must launch good alternatives before Apple does, so they stand a fair chance of competing.

If it later shows that everyone was going for "e-reading" and Apple went for "full multimedia distribution"... I guess Apple is gonna come out pretty strong here.
post #28 of 32
Never again will any media let Apple (or anyone else for that matter) get away with like Apple did in the music business. The music/iPod model has taught them all a big lesson. First the movie/TV business thumbed their nose at Apple and now the publishing world. Interesting how things evolve.
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Never again will any media let Apple (or anyone else for that matter) get away with like Apple did in the music business. The music/iPod model has taught them all a big lesson. First the movie/TV business thumbed their nose at Apple and now the publishing world. Interesting how things evolve.

The publishing industry is on the verge of bankruptcy, and you think they're the ones calling the shots against Apple?
Apple's throwing them a lifeline and the'll grab it just the way the recording dinos did.
post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

The publishing industry is on the verge of bankruptcy, and you think they're the ones calling the shots against Apple?
Apple's throwing them a lifeline and the'll grab it just the way the recording dinos did.

It sure seems that way. Ive seen nothing viable coming from these companies in years. AgnusYoung, whom I think may be NonVendorFan/SeaHawkFan, claims they have banded together like Voltron some 5 years ago and have some grande plan in the works. Weve seen nothing but vaporware and weve heard nothing about it.

On top of that they dont have the ability to do what it takes without some serious handholding from a company that does and we keep seeing periodicals shutting down door every month even while offering more outrageous subscription deals. They really are in a much worse situation than the RIAA was back in 2003. The music industry had a decline, but its one thing to be on the chopping block and quite another to already be in the grinder.

Without a real company with technical know how of making HW, SW and integrating services its simply unlikely they can figure it out for themselves. Apples open format for iTunes LP and Extras looked even more likely that it was first conceived of for publishers.
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post #31 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngusYoung View Post

Put it this way. If the publisher's are wrong then Apple has no chance at a Tablet.

If they are right then Apple will ride along with every other vendor and take what ever percentage the publishers are willing to give the vendors as the music industry has. Given the model of the iTunes store not making money (or very little) it doesn't look compelling for Apple in either event.

If the success of a tablet depended on magazines, Apple wouldn't bring a tablet to market. Even if the major magazine and newspaper publishers all went out of business, a tablet would still be great for internet, TV shows, books, etc.

That's why Apple has so much market power with the publishers and can dictate how the format, pricing, distribution, etc., on the tablet will work.

Apple won't be the only distribution outlet for print media, but go ask the record labels what happens when you try to go around them.
post #32 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngusYoung View Post

Apple doesn't make money from the iTunes and if they do very little given the financial exposure they have to keep it running (speaking in terms of music apps).

Publishers already know it's a mess. You search for a song and get 44 apps that happen to have the same word you were looking for.

Add Digital Print to the mess that iTunes already is. Publishers don't want somebody searching for Tom Brady and getting hits for the Brady Bunch music.
If publishers want people to search for magazine content they don't want Apps, Music or any other content to come up on their hit list.

It's very simple, it's going to happen, and will Apple make iTunes a worthy distribution Model that publishers will accept. Amazon, Google & Bing (Microsoft) will and know how big this is.

Apple can be arrogant but I would guess they will play the game along with the other players.

Wow, that's complete nonsense.

1. Apple makes money on iTunes. Peter Oppenheimer has been pretty specific about that in the earnings calls.

2. The publishers want to be on Apple's platforms. They would like to have it on their terms, but you're 100 percent dead wrong if you think the major publishers are not going to get on board with an Apple tablet.
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