Association of online publishers Helping media owners build better digital business

Q&A: Evening Standard Digital Commercial Director Jo Holdaway

Evening StandardLast week the Evening Standard launched a £4.99 per month iPad app, which recreates the look and feel of the print edition. We spoke to Digital Commercial Director Jo Holdaway about its business model, tablet ad formats, and advertisers’ interest in them. What’s the business model for the app, and how does it work alongside the website? The London Evening Standard iPad app is an interactive replica edition. Its business model is, therefore, to leverage the brand and design of the newspaper with added digital capabilities. There are two revenue streams from advertising and subscription. Advertisers who have run ads in the print edition can pay to have their ads made interactive in the app, including web links, galleries, video, and more. For premium solutions, sponsors can ‘wrap the app’ with additional front / back covers, as well as insert additional pages. The app is free to users for the first month, and thereafter users pay £4.99 a month. We are consciously pursuing a multi-media, multi-revenue stream approach. We offer advertising-supported free services in print and web, as well as free and paid-for apps – leaving it to our readers and users to select which format and functionality work best for them. This paid-for app delivers real value to those outside of our primary distribution across greater metropolitan London, the UK and internationally, where the demand for the title and content from and about London is in high demand. How are advertisers geared up to create campaigns and creative tailored to the iPad? We are finding that budgets for iPad are coming from digital, mobile and print buyers at agencies, and that there is a healthy demand for interstitial pages.  Other formats are a more specialised sell, and the pdf market is growing for clients who want to maximise their ad’s impact and engagement with users. One objection we found in the early days was the cost of bespoke creative when we were selling complete sponsorship of The Independent’s iPad app.  The market has definitely moved towards share of voice of page interstitials, as these are so much easier to buy and adapt creative for. The cost of producing tailored creative has gone down significantly and the emergence of technology that automatically resizes web creative to iPad has helped. Do you see the extra demands around producing creative for this platform as an opportunity or a challenge for publishers? I see it as an opportunity.  Eventually these ad formats will be standardised, as they have been for web and mobile, and just become part of the creative mix.  Numbers of users and reach is growing steadily, and the iPad audience is a covetable one for advertisers so this market is only going to grow. Users of our brands want to be able to access our content in whichever way they choose, and we need to ensure we offer as many touchpoints as we can.  Independent and London Evening Standard users are sophisticated when it comes to multiplatform; they use smartphone apps, iPad and web to access our content depending on time of day and what suits them best at the time.  It’s about giving them more immediacy of access than ever before.

Join the AOP group on LinkedIn - open for all Members to join
Subscribe to AOP's e-newsletter.