Hyperion is joining the online publishing world with its launch of Kernl, an “e-imprint” it will use to disseminate short packages of text combined with video and interactive components. The first Kernl, on job hunting, will debut tomorrow on Good Morning America (Hyperion’s sister company under ABC). The Job Kernl will be delivered in 10 weekly installments, each one offering advice on finding a job, using videos, weekly polls and links to other online resources. Kernls will be free, and will function as “incubators” for future full-length Hyperion and Voice print books.
Hyperion president and publisher Ellen Archer said the Kernl aims “to redefine the manner in which a book publisher delivers current news and timely information to 21st-century consumers.” All Job Kernl text and video is original content. The editorial produced by Hyperion's editorial department and Tory Johnson, GMA's workplace contributor; the video came from Hyperion's digital department and Johnson. Hyperion spokesperson Marie Coolman said that not every Kernl going forward will be tied to GMA or another ABC company, but that there will be a personality, author or reporter attached to all future Kernls.
The Job Kernl will also be featured on www.ABCNews.com/JobClub and hyperionbooks.com. Users will be able to add the Kernl to their own blogs, Facebook pages and other social media platforms.
Hyperion will release about six Kernls this year, and Coolman said the company has "some ideas in the works but we’re not ready to announce them yet." Forthcoming Kernls will cover a variety of subjects, from food to news; Coolman said swine flu and Sarah Palin would have made good Kernls if the initiative had been up and running when those were hot news topics.
Archer said the first few Kernls will be free so people can become acquanited with them. Then, Hyperion will look for advertisers to sponsor Kernls. "Because we are a division of the ABC TV/Disney Media Networks group, we actually have an advertising sales force," Archer said. "Printed books have always been church and state--you can’t run an ad in a book. But digital books [and digital content] are a different beast." Archer also mentioned the possibility of making a Kernl iPhone app that would cost $1.99 or $2.99.
Custom publishing for advertisers isn't out of the question, either. Archer said banks or other companies that "are looking to get their message out in other ways" could become potential Kernl clients. "We want to see if we can do custom Kernls. That will be another revenue source for us," she said.