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Are tablet editions driving luxury print ad sales?

March 26, 2013


Print advertising is in a transitional state as tablet editions offer brands an engaged pool of affluent readers to attract with digital ad enhancements.

High-end magazines are launching tablet editions left, right and center to stay relevant to their savvy readers. However, circulations of luxury-focused consumer publications rarely intersect between print and tablet, so advertisers should tailor campaigns to get the most from their ad buy.

“The overlap between the print version of Robb Report magazine and its tablet editions is only approximately 7.5 percent," said John Anderson, Los Angeles-based vice president of digital at CurtCo Media, publisher of Robb Report. “That is, only 7.5 percent of the print subscribers have validated their print subscription to receive the tablet edition through iTunes at no cost.

“Most of the downloads of our tablet editions are from digital-only subscribers or single-issue digital purchasers through iTunes, Zinio, Nook, Kindle Fire or Google Play,” he said.

“Because of these different audiences and the fact that print advertisers receive placement in the tablet edition at no additional charge, the extended reach to a new and qualified audience helps add value to the print sale.”

Tablet savvy

Magazine publishers such as Condé Nast, Hearst and American Express Publishing target affluent readers by offering not only traditional print issues, but enhanced tablet editions as well.

The tablet editions often contain editorial enhancements such as image slideshows, video, pop-up boxes and an intuitive reading platform. Often, these extras are available to advertisers.

Condé Nast publications including Architectural Digest, Vogue and Vanity Fair have digital editions for the iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook and other devices.

Hearst magazines such as Elle Décor, Town & Country and Veranda are available on the App Store, Kindle Newsstand, Nook Newsstand, Google Play, Zinio and Net Issue for the corresponding tablet devices.

In Hearst tablet editions, advertisers are offered enhancements such as video, slideshows, animations and hot spots.

American Express Publishing’s Travel + Leisure designs its monthly tablet edition for iPad and Kindle Fire with additional images, slideshows and other interactive features.

Finally, CurtCo Media’s Robb Report offers a tablet edition through which the portrait view reflects the print magazine while the landscape view gives additional slideshows, images and videos on some editorial and ad content.

The March landscape edition, for example, greets readers with a teaser film for the first time. The video gives a preview of the Car of the Year decision process that takes place in California’s Napa Valley.

While some advertisers in the digital edition of Robb Report simply link to their Web site, Breguet, Corneliani, Lamborghini and Louis XIII de Rémy Martin stood out in the March issue with more content that lets readers explore the brand.

Italian automaker Lamborghini’s one-page ad placement expands to a nine-page image gallery.

The main page also contains buttons that let readers browse the Lamborghini Web site, explore its heritage through the automaker’s 50th anniversary video, celebrate the brand through a video set in Italy and locate a dealer (see story).

Lamborghini ad 

Luxury advertisers must consider tablet readers as a separate audience from print readers to extend the life of their print buy.

Robb Report has found that its tablet readers are willing to engage with both editorial and ad content.

“Our metrics show that viewers are very actively engaging with the ads, taking advantage of the links, videos and other overlays with almost 100 percent engagement,” Mr. Anderson said.

Consider this

The audience reading tablet editions is often separate to that of the print edition's audience.

Therefore, advertisers can get more value from their print buy if they take the time to tailor their placements to each group.

Tablet editions do not seem to be contributing to print ad sales, but are an opportunity on their own.

“I think that both the print and tablet editions stand on their own,” said Katie Brockman, associate publisher at Veranda, New York. “They offer advertisers different and unique ways to connect with our readers.”

Luxury advertisers that enable enhancements, promote engagement and cater to each outlet’s readers will stay a step ahead.

“We see very little overlap between print and tablet subscribers,” Ms. Brockman said “Each is a very different experience and people choose one or the other for specific reasons.

“Our print version, in particular, has a very luxe heavy paper stock, which people love,” she said. “The magazine is visually stunning and it feels very substantial in your hands.

“Other readers love the convenience of reading the magazine on their tablet devices.”

Final Take
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York