Where some see a publishing industry in tumult, Scott Rudin and Barry Diller see opportunity.
The two media impresarios are teaming up on a new e-book publishing venture called Brightline. To get their digital effort off the ground, the pair is partnering with Atavist, a Brooklyn-based startup that in the course of a little over a year has attracted a great deal of ink for publishing longform articles for tablets.
But Brightline won't limit itself simply to e-books. The company also plans to publish physical books, as well (you know, that endangered species with pages and a spine).
The move makes sense for Rudin, who as an Oscar-winning movie producer has a penchant for developing film adaptations with literary pedigree, like Michael Chabon's "Wonder Boys" and Cormac McCarthy's "No Country for Old Men."
Diller (above) is the chairman of the internet company IAC/InterActiveCorp., which will back the new venture.
In addition, Diller and Rudin (right) announced that Frances Coady, the former publisher of Vintage UK, will serve as president and publisher of Brightline and will be the senior executive in charge of all its operational activities. Brightline will publish both short- and long-form fiction and non-fiction, the first of which will hit in mid-2013.
The deal is a coup for the Atavist, giving the promising startup some real financial heft. As part of the pact, it will exchange minority equity interests with Brightline. In return, Brightline will use Atavist's technology to publish its digital publications across mobile platforms like Android, Kindle, Nook and Kobo.
The deal took shape this summer and stemmed from talks with Diller and Rudin, during which the pair weighed buying a controlling $10 million stake in Atavist, according to the New York Times. The company will remain independent from Brightline, though the books and articles will be produced under the Atavist brand and through the company's website and app.
"Publishing will change more in the next ten years than it has in the last hundred," Diller said in a statement. "Go to Atavist on an iPad and see their remarkable integration of text, data, voice and video. Go to Frances Coady's deep and broad expertise in publishing over the last 20 years, and then go to Scott Rudin's ingenuity and creativity across films, television and theater. We have the resources and they have the ability, using Atavist's technology and digital smarts, to play a continuing and significant role in that transformation."