Flipboard has added one more content source to its social reading app, and in the process has opened up another revenue stream for the company as a marketing and advertising vehicle. The Red Bulletin, a magazine published by the marketing/content spinners at energy drink Red Bull, is now appearing as a new, standalone channel on Flipboard. The first issue will feature articles, videos and more from Red Bull’s most recent big turn in the public eye, the Red Bull Stratos record-breaking skydive from Felix Baumgartner.
The news comes as Flipboard continues to expand the number of content sources and revenue opportunities available to it to capitalize on its growing user base — last officially tallied as 20 million users overall, with 1.5 million daily users making 3 billion flips each month.
Earlier this week, Flipboard added a books category to the its iOS apps, with Apple’s iBookstore its first partner in the effort.
That books deal will see Flipboard get an affiliate fee of 5% on each book sale.
But in the case of The Red Bulletin, the financial terms are less clear.
Flipboard has had marketing-as-magazines before in its app — new, media-rich Levi’s ads in September were described as “giant catalogs” by Ad Age. But the Levi’s campaign was run in other magazines’ Flipboard feeds (specifically those of Vanity Fair, Glamour, Details, Elle, Marie Claire, Esquire, ESPN, Fast Company and Rolling Stone).
The Red Bulletin is a standalone feed, so publishers Red Bull Media could be paying a separate, premium fee for that positioning. This looks like more than a short-term deal, too:
“Flipboard provides reach and an amazing user experience to showcase our stories and engage readers, which is why they are such a great partner for Red Bull Media House,” said Nicholas Pavach, director of publishing, Red Bull Media House, in a statement. “We’re excited to see how Flipboard will innovate next and we will work with them to fully exploit mobile platforms.”
More generally, Flipboard has been making a big effort to bring more magazine-style, dynamic advertising to its app to complement the content, although some of that effort has been met with some pull-back from magazines that may have been hoping to use the app as their own alternative revenue stream.
“As people discover and access content in new ways, it makes sense for The Red Bulletin to bring its multi-media content to Flipboard to reach mobile readers,” said Marci McCue, head of marketing at Flipboard. Given how much investment brands are making in developing alternative routes for marketing outside of traditional display advertising, we may see more branded content coming to Flipboard in the future following the Red Bulletin template.
Red Bull, meanwhile, has been building a hefty social media marketing operation to help push its image as the energy drink of champions. It includes film, television, print, digital and gaming campaigns. A spokesperson for Red Bull tells me that The Red Bulletin has 4 million monthly readers around the globe, with 800,000 monthly readers in the U.S. It’s not a free marketing magazine as such. It sells ads, and the print edition costs $9.98 to subscribe to for a year (12 issues); individual printed issues cost $4.99.
Probably the most famous of Red Bull’s marketing efforts is the recent Red Bull Stratos project, which saw Felix Baumgartner become the first person to jump “from the edge of space” back down to earth. Red Bull livestreamed the event, which broke more than a freefall record: it also broke YouTube records for concurrent views, with 8 million people tuning in simultaneously to watch the event.
Considering how much attention Stratos generated, it’s unsurprising to see the company milking it a bit more. The first Flipboard issue of The Red Bulletin will feature an in-depth look at the event, with a Baumgartner interview “just moments” after the jump, along with videos, photos and other exclusive content. In future, Red Bulletin will be updated with action, travel, arts and music content daily — with the content featured in the “tech & science” category (but interestingly, not in the sport, living or travel categories).
As with other Flipboard content, The Red Bulletin will come with lots of features to share the content: users can crosspost links to their Twitter, Facebook or email accounts, and The Red Bulletin will also appear in Flipboard’s other channels: Google Reader, LinkedIn, SoundCloud, Tumblr, Flickr, 500px, Sina Weibo and Renren, via iPads, iPhone and Andriod mobile phones.