Zite Adds First Branded Section for Lululemon, But Still No Ads in App

Tablet magazine Zite has just launched its first branded section for athletic clothing line lululemon yet still refrains from placing ads -- which have become the norm on Flipboard, Editions by AOL and tablet content platform OnSwipe.

"We’ve been very vocal about not putting ads into Zite," the blog states. "Though you will find lululemon posts within the section, most of the content is simply what may inspire a lululemon guest," the Zite blog states. "From health articles to fitness tips, lululemon trained the channel to generate content that would appeal to health and fitness buffs. Of course, the lululemon channel will also personalize content for you based on your reading habits and specific interests."
To access the channel, click "Customize" and select lululemon. 

Flipboard, which launched its first advertising program in July with Conde Nast to offer content from The New Yorker and Wired, also partnered with 30+ providers like the Oprah Winfrey Network and Oprah. Earlier this month, Grazia launched its French and Italian editions on Flipboard to make them the first non-English titles made for Flipboard.
Additionally, companies with a close relationship with Conde Nast can run full-page ads on the Flipboard platform. Flipboard CEO Mike McCue told paidContent that people are used to seeing ads in magazines, which is why he feels confident that readers won't be turned off.
A couple of months ago, daily magazine app for iPad AOL Editions partnered with Cooliris to bring 3D ads to the platform. As head of AOL mobile David Temkin said in a Q&A session at the LAUNCH 'Pad conference in October, ads on Editions have gotten positive reactions from publishers with a CPM of substantially more than $50 for its 3D BMW ad.

In the same Q&A session, Zite CEO Mark Johnson said, "No, we don't have any ads yet," as it had not made any partnerships at that point. In March, media companies like the Washington Post and the Associated Press sent a cease-and-desist letter to Zite claiming an unauthorized use of intellectual property.

Zite refuted these claims, stating how displaying articles in reading mode is nothing new, as it's already common in Safari's Reader. Still, Zite made certain content available in web-only mode.

OnSwipe, which offers web publishers an opportunity to make their sites tablet-friendly and powers all Wordpress blogs on the iPad, also features full-page ads to disrupt the world of tablet advertising. Companies using OnSwipe include Slate, Style Blazer and BetaBeat. 

"For publishers...they're getting a lot of traffic from the iPad and they should be able to increase revenue and page views by providing a beautiful app-like experience when the readers go to theri website," OnSwipe CEO Jason Baptiste said at LAUNCH 'Pad. "The iPad is about better advertising," Jason said. "It's about letting publishers provide ads that readers actually want to see and engage with." 

When Sprint launched with Slate on OnSwipe, Jason says they saw good engagement and pageviews nearly doubled.

"We've worked with brands like Sprint, AMEX, Verizon, Chanel, and more," Jason tells LAUNCH via email. "Our ads perform 50-100x better than in app banner ads. Readers get ads they enjoy, publishers provide a better experience, and brands perform better. It's tri-winning."

LAUNCH has contacted David, Mark and Flipboard and will update this story if we receive a response. 

In the Q&A portion following the first session at the conference, Mark said that they were still looking for revenue streams and it seems that they have decided on branded content.

"We are very excited to be working with the lululemon team, both from a business perspective and personally," the blog states. "...If you’re a brand who is interested in sponsoring a section within Zite and believe you can add value to a user’s Zite experience, then drop us a line at bizdev at zite dot com."


Zite "advertises" its new lululemon section when you sign in.

Users don't have to read lululemon content if they don't want to, but rather must opt-in from the customize settings.

BMW 3D advertisement on Editions by AOL.

Full-page ad on Flipboard.

Zite presentation at LAUNCH 'Pad.

LAUNCH 'Pad Session One Q&A


Website: http://www.zite.com/
Twitter: @zite 
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=157469704310630
Blog: http://blog.zite.com/

Mark Johnson, CEO
Twitter: @philosophygeek 
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/marknjohnson
Google+: https://plus.google.com/108677200739458473247/posts
Blog: http://deliberateambiguity.typepad.com/