Flipboard to incorporate TV into app

Flipboard, the magazine-style content curation app, is exploring ways it can build television into its offering as it looks to improve the user experience and open up new advertising opportunities for brands.

Telegraph and Halifax were the first brands to run Flipboard ads in the UK.

Speaking via a video link at The Guardian’s Changing Media Summit in London, Flipboard founder and CEO Mike McCue said the company is currently looking at ways users could curate their own TV channels to share with others and also how they can use the app to surface the most popular or relevant current TV content to them.

Last month Flipboard hired Eric Feng, chief technology officer from movie streaming service Hulu, to oversee engineering and strategy, underling its commitment to video and TV.

Elsewhere, McCue revealed his company is launching a new service that mirrors the Google Reader API – the news aggregator Google axed earlier this week – so former users of the search engine’s service can access all their previous content through Flipboard. It is also building extra capability to allow users to add additional feeds to the Reader-copycat service.

McCue said: “I was surprised Google killed Reader, there was a certain amout of finality to it which is concerning for people: 1.5 million people used Google Reader on Flipboard.”

Flipboard is also working to ensure the price of digital and mobile advertising replicates that of traditional advertising for publishers. McCue said the “division of 10” from traditional ad revenue to digital and then another division of 10 from digital to mobile “has got to be figured out ultimately” in order to “subsidise” content in a digital environment.

The 150 publishers signed up to Flipboard’s advertising offer are making “10 to 15 times” more money per user per article on the app than via advertising on their own websites, McCue claimed. Click through rates on the app are between 2 to 7 per cent, he said.

Media brands including Wired and the New Yorker suspended their efforts to sell ads on the platform last year, but McCue said he predicts they will eventually come back.

McCue added: “The fundamental thing we do for publishers is enable their content to look amazing on these mobile touch screens and have their content monetised at a level comparable to print…[ads on Flipboard are] beautiful brand images similar to those that run in print and are increasingly not being linked to a web landing page but other sections on Flipboard curated by that advertiser.

“There are lots of examples of publishers that have sold out their inventory [on Flipboard] at print type prices. If you look at advertising on a smarpthone you typically see it in the form of a banner, a tiny piece of an already tiny screen, but Flipboard has beautiful full-page ads.”

In November last year The Telegraph partnered with Halifax to create the first UK ad campaign on Flipboard.

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