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Advertisers quick to invest money in new iPad publications

While tech pundits have stoked fear, uncertainty and doubt about the prospects for Apple's upcoming iPad, major advertisers are confident about investing in significant new sponsorships of high profile iPad publications.

A new report by the New York Times contrasts the cautious approach advertisers took to the Internet and mobile phones with the liberal spending they're now pouring into digital iPad versions of existing print publications.

"FedEx has bought advertising space on the iPad applications from Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. Chase Sapphire, a credit card for the high-end market, has bought out The New York Times’s iPad advertising units for 60 days after the introduction," the report stated.

"Advertisers including Unilever, Toyota Motor, Korean Air and Fidelity have booked space on Time’s iPad application. In a draft press release, The Journal said a subscription to its app would cost $17.99 a month, and the first advertisers included Capital One, Buick, Oracle, iShares and FedEx."

Advertisers are spending between $75,000 to $300,000 for a few months of ad space in print publisher's iPad apps, according to Phuc Truong, the managing director of Mobext U.S.

Advertisers are believed to trying to associate themselves with the excitement Apple has created around the iPad. The Times cited Alisa Bowen, senior vice president and head of consumer publishing at Thomson Reuters, as saying, "There is an appetite to be associated with the inevitable buzz — the buzz around the iPad has been so long-lived."

Measuring iPad ads

Nobody yet knows how consumers will respond to the iPad and to its new paid-content model, which will allow publishers to both charge per app and also charge subscription fees, similar to a physical newspaper or magazine. The iPad will present a new type of content somewhere between traditional print, which charges advertisers a flat fee based on subscribers, and the web, which typically charges advertisers very little per ad impression, but significantly more when readers click on an ad.

Mark Ford, president of the Time Inc. News Group, which will be publishing a iPad version of Time in April, as well as an iPad edition of Sports Illustrated in June, explained to the Times, "We’ve got to figure out what the measurements are [for success in iPad advertising]. It’s not how you measure print, it’s not, certainly, how you measure digital. It’s going to be something different.”

Fran Pessagno, who is working on the FedEx iPad ad contract for Omnicom Media Group, told the Times he would be looking for firm results in iPad ads. "With everything we do, we’re just going to have to test it and see whether or not it actually results in new account signups,” he said, referring to accounts created with FedEx. “Until anything goes to market, it’s always viewed through the lens of, ‘it’s short term.’ ”

No Flash on iPad

Another issue in front of advertisers lining up to get in on iPad buzz is that they can't use their existing web ad collateral built using Adobe Flash, because Apple has rejected the use of any Flash runtime for the iPad. "So advertisers must find other ways to enlivening [sic] their ads," the Times article said. "People, for instance, is using the Adobe program InDesign to create slide shows, videos and animation."

The iPad edition of People is expected to be ready by early August. Fran Hauser, the president of digital for the Time Inc. Style and Entertainment Group, which includes People, told the Times “It’s a little more work for them, and for us, too,” said.

Time Inc. News Group's Ford added that while advertiser interest had been intense, “we’re all learning. It’s a moving target."