So you are Mike McCue of Flipboard. Even though server failure put the dampeners on your launch a little, you have still created the most swooned over iPad app so far. From nothing you have loads of users who love your swish technology. The question remains though. How are you going to make money from your app?
An obvious route would be to integrate full page magazine style ads between the pages. Brands are going to love that and I bet readers won’t care too much when they see them.
Another option (a complimentary one) might be to develop Flipboard as a publishing platform. Almost like a WordPress for the iPad.
It might sound bonkers but there is a very real opportunity for Flipboard to do this and I think it could make them a lot of money.
The theory goes like this
Almost all bloggers and indie publishers would love to have a magazine type product for the iPad. At the moment they can’t do this as HTML5 developers are pricey and thin on the ground. Also indie publishers are not going to struggle to monetise the iPad magazine as they won’t be able to charge a subscription for the content and finding ads could be tricky.
Enter Flipboard. It already has the platform. It already has thousands of users. It already has loads of love from those bloggers. Imagine if it offered a Content Management System and free hosting too? At a basic level Flipboard could just take a site’s RSS (or even its Twitter feed) and automate the process. In some ways it offers this already. You could curate a Flipboard magazine quite easily provided you give a great deal of thought as to what to feed it via Twitter.
The difference would be some degree of customisation for the publisher. The ability to choose the cover, make basic amendments to the design etc. Publishers could even offer weekly, monthly or even daily versions a bit like print publishing. I am guessing it will be iPhone compatible soon too.
Flipboard could create a community to display the ‘new magazines’ and in theory not have to bother with promoting them via iTunes, as other mags/apps will have to. It could also work with an advertising partner, Glam would be an obvious choice, to monetise the content with Flipboard splitting the cash with the publisher.
The major benefit for Flipboard would be that thousands of small publishers would get their dream of an iPad magazine (plus a little cash too) and just think how evangelical they would be about promoting their content and Flipboard.
I guess that many companies are already working on a free publishing system for the iPad, but Flipboard already has a massive head start.
On the downside the creation of this type of publishing system would be disastrous for mainstream media. If they think they can get punters to pay for subscriptions for iPad magazine apps when masses of similar free content is available via a service like Flipboard, they are seriously deluded.
So how about it Flipboard?