Forbes has signed on to Flipboard, the “social mag app” for the iPad that is beginning to get the stamp of approval from publishers (the Oprah Winfrey Network and Oprah.com just signed on to be official partners with Flipboard on April 14).
Flipboard is a free “social magazine” app available on the iPad, which allows users to select RSS feeds from Facebook and Twitter and add them to their account. Flipboard then takes this selected content and weaves a personalized magazine featuring content based on user selections.
Bruce Upbin, managing editor of Forbes, says, “I think it’s the only one of its kind so far – they’re the most publisher friendly of the mag apps (like Zite and Pulse) as they want to work with us to replicate our mag experience on their app. We’re more branded.”
Forbes currently has two iPad apps, the Investment Guide + app and The List app. Upbin distinguishes between the actual Forbes apps and the socially curated Flipboard content, “Our other apps are more targeted. The Flipboard pages is the closest thing you’ll get from us right now to reading Forbes.com content as if it were Forbes magazine.
We don’t sell per issue; our iPad strategy to date has been to take our content and brands, like The List or The Investment Guide, and turn those into an app experience.”
The Investment Guide + app was released last fall, and its content is refreshed biannually when the print Investment Guide issue is released.
When Forbes was faced with the question of partnership with Flipboard (content was already being pulled from Forbes.com Twitter feed to be included in the app), Upbin decided to make their Flipboard pages as branded as possible. He says, after all, “They had access to our content before via our Twitter feed; anyone can get anything on Flipboard (almost)."
As “Featured Content”, Forbes’ and Flipboard’s design teams work together to create a branded look that carries through elements of Forbes.com’s articles, such as headline, byline, photos and the first paragraph that appear on the app. Advertisement is also possible once a publisher signs on to partner with Flipboard.
Currently, every third page in the Forbes.com content section is a house ad promoting the Forbes-created iPad app.
As for ad revenue terms, Upbin couldn’t share exact numbers, but says, “We get what we can for it, until Flipboard develops a set of metrics that are publisher friendly, like monthly active reader, subscribers to your section and number of page views or ‘flips’.”
Other publishers on Flipboard include Bon Appetit, Lonely Planet and All Things Digital.