Flipboard Users Take Their Tablets to Bed

CEO McCue shares peak usage times, business model

Flipboard fans, if you tend to do most of your reading before bedtime, you’re not alone.

According to Mike McCue, the company’s CEO and co-founder, the peak hours for Flipboard browsing are between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. at night, followed by morning (coffee anyone?) and weekends during the day.

This summer, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup plans to roll out an iPhone version of the popular iPad app, which McCue said should complete its usage profile.

"Flipboard is very much a lean back, take 15, 20 minutes, half an hour, an hour and just flip through all the wonderful things your friends are sharing with you," he said Monday at ReadWriteWeb’s 2WAY Summit. "The iPhone, it’s going to be more of a lean forward, what-do-I-need-to-know-now kind of experience."

Flipboard, the "personalized, social magazine" for the iPad, launched soon after Apple unveiled the first iteration of its tablet last year. Now, the company says it receives more than 11 million “flips” (what it considers page views) per day, up from 3 million per day only two months ago, according to a recent TechCrunch report.

In contrast to Web pages that dilute content with blinking banner ads, search boxes, and related links, Flipboard’s pages, inspired by magazines, are remarkably clean and clutter-free. McCue said that as the company introduces advertising, it has no intention of mucking up the user’s print-like digital experience.

Through its Flipboard Pages program, the company partners with publishers to present full-page ads within a given publisher’s story. McCue said Flipboard would not show ads within content unless a publisher has agreed to the revenue-sharing model.

That proposition has attracted about 30 publishers so far, including National Geographic, The New Yorker, Engadget, and TechCrunch.

Those full-page ads "will monetize that content at a level that’s probably 10 times better than what you could do with an ad banner, and it’s an ad that’s far more pleasing to users and a lot more interesting to look at," McCue said.

He emphasized that it’s early days for the company and its business model. But noting that only 10 percent of advertising dollars find their way online, he said, "I do think this is a really tremendous opportunity to have brand advertising actually come to a digital space."