Everyone’s favorite iPad social reader, Flipboard, is getting itself a revenue stream.
The startup, which recently raised a $50 million round, has just inked a deal with mega-publisher Condé Nast to include full-page advertising in some of its digital offerings, including The New Yorker, Wired and Bon Appétit. Flipboard CEO Mike McCue spoke with VentureBeat today to discuss the details of the deal.
“In December,” said McCue, “we started a trial with a number of publishers. Stories from the publications in the trial that are shared on social networks like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn show up in a full-format magazine page on Flipboard when you tap on them.”
The company said these are high-quality, magazine-format ads — not your typical web popup or skyscraper eyesore. “We worked with their design teams to create the look and feel of the pages,” said McCue. “We’ve created HTML5 templates that render the web page in a full screen of just the story and images.”
In the trial, no money changed hands, and most of the ads were simply selling each partner publication’s iPad app, McCue said. But the Condé Nast deal is the company’s first true advertising partnership and will be lining the coffers.
How users react to full-page ads, which are welcome enough in print but generally hated in digital content, has been a point of concern for the Flipboard team. “Prior to every release of Flipboard, we do user testing and include partner content and ads in the process,” McCue said. “To date, we’ve had positive reactions.”
Flipboard will be working with publishers directly to give them analytics on how their ads and titles are performing in the app.
McCue, who has previously said he wasn’t building a business at publishers’ expense, says the company sees ad sales as its primary revenue stream moving forward. But at this point, the company plans to let its publishers handle advertiser accounts themselves.
“In this model,” he said, “our publisher partners own the relationship with advertisers. We will support their ad sales team wherever we can.”