Print publications already signing big money deals with advertisers ahead of iPad launch

Mon, Mar 29, 2010


If you buy into the hype, the iPad will usher in a reading renaissance for beleaguered print publications experiencing drastic drops in readership and revenue. With a spacious 9.7-inch color touchscreen, the iPad will offer users an unparalleled digital reading experience while at the same time offering advertisers more tools with which to create engaging, interactive, and ultimately more effective ad campaigns.

While Apple has encountered some resistance in its efforts to court magazines and newspapers, some publications like Time Magazine and the New York Times are attacking the iPad will full force and already reaping rewards via substantial advertising dollars.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Time Magazine, for example, has already inked advertising deals with Toyota, Fidelity Investments, and four other prominent companies at rates rumored to be as high as $200,000 for a single ad spot. The Journal itself also reportedly signed a $400,000 deal with Coke wherein the maker of everyone’s favorite sugary and syrupy carbonated beverage will run rich media ads on the iPad for four months. FedEx reportedly signed a similar four-month deal with the WSJ as well.

Meanwhile, Wired Magazine is offering advertisers varying price structures and ad features depending on how many ads are purchased and where. One person familiar with Wired’s advertising initiative told the WSJ that an advertiser who purchases eight pages of ads in the print publication will able to “lace video and other extra features through the iPad version.”

Time Inc.’s Sport Illustrated has been showing advertisers three video-heavy ad prototypes, including one for a Ford Mustang that includes an arcade-style driving game using the tilt-and-turn capability of the iPad. With a few touches to the screen, readers can pick paint colors and wheel styles for cars they might want to buy.

“Some of the things you can do are just mind blowing,” says Steve Pacheco, FedEx’s director of advertising. “You are taking something that used to be flat on a page and making it interactive and have it jump off the page.”

The current model of online advertising simply lacks the depth to entice customers and turn a healthy profit for publishers. The fact of the matter is that most consumers view online advertising as an obtrusive nuisance they often train themselves to ignore, either conciously or via programs like adblock.

The iPad, though, has publishers and advertisers envisioning a new age of digital advertising where consumers don’t ignore ads, but rather actively engage with them.

So will the iPad be the savior some print publications are hoping it will be? It’s too soon to tell, but if early customer interest in the iPad is any indication, a healthy user base of iPad users shouldn’t be much of a problem. The question then becomes if user aversion to advertising will transfer over to the iPad, or if advertisers can create ads compelling enough to draw eyeballs away from the articles.



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