Flipboard Offering Publishers Magazine-Like iPad Feed Experience
Monday, December 6, 2010
How ironic that a start-up that aggregates and
formats simple social media and RSS feeds onto the iPad is helping
magazines look more magazine-like on the tablet platform. But the
buzz-fueled aggregation app Flipboard is doing exactly that with inaugural partners Bon Appétit, Washington Post Magazine
and Lonely Planet. In an effort to ‘iPadify’ shared content from major
media partners, Flipboard is creating a more sophisticated layout
framework for articles that are fed into its app. Flipboard offers a
unique system that it calls a ‘social magazine,’ which turns RSS,
Twitter and Facebook feeds into neatly laid out illustrated pages that
literally flip to advance and pop-up fuller article excerpts in a window
with accompanying image. The new partnership wit media companies takes
that elegance to the next level. When a user double taps on an article
from a partner like Bon Appétit or ABC News, the reader gets a multi-page rendition of the article in a magazine-like layout, including full page ads.
“We believe the timeless principles of print can enhance the
social media experience, not only to make content more discoverable but
also to make it easier to read,” says Flipboard CEO Mike McCue.
Flipboard had been rumored to be in conversations with media companies
about ways to help them monetize the feeds that Flipboard uses to
populate its product. Flipboard is working with ad agency OMD to test
the full page ads that occupy these enhanced articles. Initial sponsors
include Pepsi, Gatorade, Infiniti, Showtime and Levi’s.
In our use of the featured Flipboard
pages, the system did produce very readable and engaging page designs.
The excerpts click through to a richer environment that is closer to the
typical magazine app than it is to a Web site, to which Flipbook pages
often link. The full-page ads generally have been well-tuned to the
touch and feel strengths of the platform. Best of all, Flipboard does
all of this while retaining its signature snappiness. The app has always
done a very good job of caching the most likely next pages a user will
tap and so creating a more seamless flipping experience.
Overall, Flipboard appears to be making
good on its earlier promise to give something back to the media partners
on whose content its app relies. This is an interesting new way to
syndicate content into a touch-based tablet ecosystem that lets
publishers keep a handle on the ways in which their content is
presented, and keep their fingers in the revenue stream it might