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Flipboard strikes deal to expand its offering into enthusiast publications

Flipboard, the innovative socially powered publishing platform, recently partnered with publishers Bonnier, Rodale, and The Enthusiast Network to bring coverage of niche interests into the mobile arena.

The partnership, announced today, will make 65 new publications available on Flipboard?s mobile-optimized platform, including such legacy publications as Motor Trend, SLAM Magazine, Field & Stream, Popular Science and Men?s Health. The addition of the largely enthusiast-driven selection of magazines to Flipboard?s interface marks a dedication to making the publisher?s flagship publications more accessible while also driving exposure for smaller niche periodicals through the platform?s algorithms.

"While our editorial team curates news of the day and builds packages around events? like all the coverage of from the debates? it?s important for people to find quality content on a wide variety of topics," said Marci McCue, chief marketing officer at Flipboard. "What we?ve found is that the readers who follow interests or passions on Flipboard become more engaged, they?ve learned that Flipboard is a place for everything they like to keep up on.

"They not only come back more often, but are also deeply engaged with Flipboard, saving and sharing stories with people who share that passion. Knowing this about our audience makes partnerships like these very exciting ? giving Flipboard users more great content and driving really engaged readers to our partners."

Progress in publishing
The introduction of the publisher?s offerings will provide access to Flipboard?s more than 90 million monthly readers, which will benefit larger publications such as Popular Science and Men?s Health the most. The platform will act as a hub for the new publications so consumers can save space on their phones by reducing the amount of magazine apps to only the ones they subscribe to.

The partnership will provide increased access to enthusiast content

And while flagship publications will see the most benefit in terms of hard metrics, one of the biggest advantages this partnership provides for these publishers is the ability to leverage Flipboard?s algorithms, which could necessarily expand users? editorial palates to smaller publications included in the partnership with just a swipe of a finger.

The algorithms will categorize content from all 65 sources and match individual stories based on the topics and interests users are searching for. This means that if a user types in a keyword such as ?fishing,? Flipboard?s search results will include entries from niche publications such as Rodale?s Sport Fishing next to larger publications such as Field & Stream.

"Blending human curation and algorithms is an important interplay and one that we think delivers users the best of both worlds," said Ms. McCue. "People on Flipboard select the topics they are interested in, then the algorithms can surface related stories. 

"But those related stories are selected based on the engagement and interactions with the stories. By blending the actions of people picking what they generally want to read about and the algorithms surfacing what other readers are liking or sharing, readers will see stories that the expect, but also some serendipity in their experience on Flipboard."

The partnership also provides Flipboard?s user interface design as a setting for the publishers? magazine content, an interface that debuted to hosannas in 2010 for its innovation. Apple named the iPad client its iPad App of the Year in the same year.

Flipboard's user friendly interface

State of media
With many decrying the state of print publishing for years now, Flipboard?s partnership to aggregate these smaller niche publications evinces a dedication to the maintenance of the media industry as a whole. Consumers deserve quality, in-depth coverage of their interests that does not amount to an afterthought for a larger publication catering to a community at large.

By modernizing enthusiast publications and making them more accessible via a sterling platform like Flipboard, Bonnier, Rodale and The Enthusiast Network set themselves up for a second act in the mobile space, along with the publishing industry as a whole.

A recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests that the newspaper industry is now jumping into the digital space headfirst, with the next few years critical to whether traditional print brands can survive in a new era of decentralized news consumption (see story).

It is clear that many publications are listening to PWC?s portents and are responding in kind. The online arm of famed British broadsheet The Telegraph has rolled out a redesigned mobile application that contains a bevy of features to optimize mobile news consumption for its half-million readers (see story).

"Partnering with publishers to bring new audience to their content and new opportunities for advertising is central to our mission," Ms. McCue said. "By expanding our relationships with publishers like Rodale, Bonnier and TEN, publishers that are known for their high-quality stories around specific passions, we?re able to give people the best coverage on their specific interests. 

"And as we?ve seen, when people discover the stories that they love, they're super engaged and can drive new traffic?ultimately giving these publishers a boost from our mobile experience."