Posted by Barry Silverstein on July 20, 2010 03:00 PM
You can always depend on Virgin Group's Richard Branson to surprise.
It wasn't enough to revolutionize airline travel with Virgin Atlantic; he had to form Virgin Galactic to offer commercial flights into space. Not satisfied with what he saw happening in the mobile phone arena, he came up with the pay-as-you-go Virgin Mobile brand (now owned by Sprint).
Having launched his career as a magazine publisher, it figures that Branson would look how magazines are gravitating to the iPad to shore up their print editions — and do something even bolder.
This free spirit and self-styled rebel billionaire who moves in contrarian ways is skydiving right past a printed magazine and jumping straight into digital with his new Virgin media brand, Maverick, designed expressly for the iPad.
And why not keep it in the family? Branson has tapped 28-year old daughter Holly, a graduate of medical school no less, to run Maverick. Her primary mission, according to Ad Age, is to "sign up a handful of select premium advertisers to work as 'brand partners' on the project."
Maverick, which will launch in October on the iPad before migrating to the iPhone and Droid, "will aim to encapsulate the spirit of the Virgin brand by focusing on entrepreneurial endeavors and highlighting new creative, business, travel and technology ideas, targeting an upscale international audience."
Branson's real motive is clear, however: to take advantage of the iPad's popularity as a magazine platform and establish a leadership position in digital magazines. With his track record as a tireless innovator — Virgin Galactic, by the way, just completed its first crewed flight — this maverick has got a good shot at doing just that.