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Sports Illustrated climbs into cyberspace

Touchline Media has created a monthly digital version of SA Sports Illustrated magazine. Aimed exclusively at readers living abroad, the digital version can be downloaded from the net and emulates the look, feel and experience of reading a magazine with pages that are identical to the printed version.

SA Sports Illustrated's Chief Internet Officer, Andrew Lanning, who launched SASI Digital in July 2005, says: "Being a convergence nut and profoundly interested in the South African media landscape, the digital magazine is something I have been interested in as a product.

"Together with John Kotsaftis of M-Web's I-Zone, I approached Zinio, the world leaders in digital magazine production and the result of a few months' hard graft by all parties is the new SA Sports Illustrated Digital - available both as a single copy for US$4.50 or as a 12 month subscription for US$40.00.

"We have just over 400 overseas subscribers and while chuffed at the interest, it is not profitable for us to send actual magazines given the massive postage costs. So tied to the fact that broadband internet access is fairly prevalent outside of SA, especially in Australia and the UK, where a lot of South Africans live today - providing them with a digital version of the magazine seemed a situation where both parties win."

The download is quite a sizable at 10 or 11MB, but easily manageable with broadband and subscribers get the magazine on time (in fact they get it a few days ahead of a South African subscriber), at a cheaper rate, and Touchline gets to distribute themagazine at a fraction of the cost.

The SASI digital team has also hooked up with fellow Naspers division, Kudu Club, to offer its members the product. The Kudu Club member gets a 12 issue subscription for just US$30.00.

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