The New York Times and Flipboard yesterday announced that the Times would be designed and formatted for reading on the Flipboard for iPad and iPhone, starting Thursday (June 28). Flipboard is the e-zine-like aggregator of free content from magazines and newspaper sites.
As AllThingsD's Peter Kafka describes the significance, it is the first time Flipboard has convinced a major publisher to allow full access to its premium content. It is also the first time that The Times has offered paid subscribers full access to its content off of a Times-owned platform. For The New York Times, this marks the launch of what it calls "NYT Everywhere," a strategy designed to expand its reach to users on third-party platforms.
The Times does not typically allow its content to be used by aggregators. The newspaper surveyed its subscribers to find that 20% read aggregated Web content through third-party apps like Flipboard. So it will allow a sampling of articles from its "Top News" section to be read by nonsubscribers through Flipboard, but subscribers will be able to view all articles, videos, slide shows and blog posts using Flipboard.
It is also significant because, as The New York Times describes, the partnership involves an advertising revenue split between The Times and Flipboard. The Times will sell full-screen ads that appear between its Flipboard pages, which are intended to be more attention-grabbing than conventional Web advertising. Flipboard does not sell advertising directly: Rather, it partners with publishers like The Times to select ads and optimize them for the platform. So a company like IBM will buy a Flipboard ad from The Times, and users will see a display ad that looks like a print or display version, but with interactive capabilities.
The Web-First Strategy
The Times is hardly likely to scrap its print edition, but it is wise to make itself invaluable on the Web. Last week Dow Jones announced that it would scrap the print edition of its 20-year-old personal finance magazine Smart Money for Web only. As Digiday reported, the magazine's 800,000-strong subscribership has held steady for the last few years, but its SmartMoney.com readership was up 14% over the last year while ad revenue was down 12.9% for the year before. If and when the time comes to scrap The Times print edition, it will have already mastered the digital format and revenue streams.
Flipboard claims 8 million users as of January (unverified), and only last week announced that it was fully supporting Android devices, and will come preinstalled on Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S III phones. At present, The New York Times for Flipboard is available on the iPad and iPhone only.