Flipboard lands a whale as it signs a deal to add Time Inc. magazines to its platform

Flipboard has been under some pressure recently, based on complaints from publishers like Talking Points Memo that the company’s magazine-style aggregation app uses their content but doesn’t provide them with enough of a return. But those concerns don’t seem to have stopped others from adopting the platform: according to AdWeek magazine, Time Inc. has signed a deal with Flipboard to add its titles to the service, starting with People magazine and InStyle.

A Time Inc. spokesperson told AdWeek that with 90 million users, Flipboard now has the scale to be an attractive platform, and also offers the opportunity to reach a younger and/or more mobile audience than Time currently reaches. Less than 10 percent of Time’s web audience uses an iPad, the company said, and People was the most searched for media brand on Flipboard.

“Their audience has grown exponentially, so they actually have scale,” said Fran Hauser, president of digital for Time Inc.’s Style and Entertainment Group. “It’s really attractive to know we can reach a new, younger audience.”

Hauser said the main goal of the Flipboard partnership is to boost its advertising reach, and added that InStyle has already sold two ads — one to Gucci — and People is close to signing a similar deal. Part of Flipboard’s pitch to publishers, and particularly to glossy magazines like the ones that Time Inc. has in its stable, is that advertising looks better on the platform than on a traditional website and can therefore theoretically bring in more revenue.

Flipboard is also working with publishers like Time to build support for paywalls into their content in the app, so that readers can log in and consume content the same way they do through the publisher’s existing apps. Flipboard already does this for the Financial Times and the New York Times and wants to roll it out to more publishers, CEO Mike McCue has said.