Commentary

Flipboard Floats Paid 'TV' Service

Despite a ton of competition, Flipboard thinks it can convince folks to pay $2.99 a month for some ad-free mobile video.   

That’s the thinking behind Flipboard TV -- a new service that the news aggregator plans to populate with content from publisher partners, including Rolling Stone, Us Weekly, and The Wall Street Journal.

Perhaps working in its favor, the offering will come preinstalled on new Samsung Galaxy S20s, the owners of which will receive a three-month free trial of Flipboard TV.

The offering can also be customized by subscribers, who will initially have access to more than 100 sources of video, which will be bucketed into common categories like “news,” “business,” “politics,” “entertainment,” “tech,” and “local.”

Potentially serving as another differentiator, Flipboard is taking the service’s local news category seriously by partnering with regional publishers across the country, including KCRA in Sacramento, WESH in Orlando, and KCCI in Des Moines.

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Flipboard has made adding local publishers a priority over the past year.

Additional Flipboard TV partners include Variety, Barron’s, Bloomberg Media, QuickTake by Bloomberg, MarketWatch, and Recount Media.

By partnering with Flipboard, publishers are potentially sacrificing viewers and subscription dollars that they might have otherwise sucked up. Yet, by doing so, they’re betting that whatever licensing fees they receive from Flipboard make up for those losses.

Publishers are also counting on the partnership with Flipboard to expose consumers to their brand of content.

“Flipboard TV represents an opportunity to broaden our audience,” stated Daniel Bernard, senior vice president at Barron’s Group.

Cutting through the complexity of the media ecosystem, some publishers believe that Flipboard’s model represents the future of the industry.  

“How Flipboard is thinking about premium content distribution and monetization creates a better model for the ecosystem,” stated Battelle, an industry veteran who recently launched Recount Media to offer “remixed” news clips to younger audiences.
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