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Best of ReadWriteMix: The Future of Digital Media with Flipboard’s Mike McCue

Highlights from the fireside chat hosted by Owen Thomas, editor-in-chief of ReadWrite in Say Media’s San Francisco office.
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The media industry is a $600 billion business and yet less than 20 percent of all ads are currently digital – which is a huge opportunity for all digital media companies in the years ahead. That was just one of the things we heard from Mike McCue, CEO and founder of Flipboard at this week’s ReadWriteMix, a fireside chat hosted by Owen Thomas, editor-in-chief of ReadWrite in Say Media’s San Francisco office.

McCue also talked about the power of great content to influence people and the things they do – and his vision for Flipboard as a way to organize digital content that is increasing becoming “atomized and lost in reverse chron feeds.” Among some of his other interesting observations about the media business, digital advertising and Flipboard’s place in the ecosystem:

o Flipboard has over 100 million active accounts and 10 million user-created digital magazines.

o As we move to digital, the media world is under a massive disruption. That’s a threat and an opportunity.

o The founder of New York magazine called magazines “tribal organizing documents.” No matter what the topic is – cigars, dogs, whatever – you can find a magazine for it.

o We want to support that craftsmanship of creating a narrative around things people are passionate about.

o We don’t think too much about the competition. If you’re creating something valuable you will have competiton. We think about our users and the longterm view.

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o In the long run media is a huge $600B market and we’re in the early innings.

o The future of monetization lies in the past - in magazines.

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o From early days before we knew what it was called or whether it was on an iPad or tablet - we thought of power of full power brand ads in these magazines.

o You wouldn’t want to buy Elle magazine without the ads – the ads are as cool as the content. Advertising done right is valuable and compelling.

o We did a Nielsen study and Flipboard ads have better recall than TV ads.

o We don’t want to create great content ourselves, we want to enable great content.

o It’s hard to make money in a bunch of different ways. We’re focused on advertising. That is now and will always be our focus.

o The world of TV and print are converging. Content is being atomized and then reconstructed around topics users are passionate about – whether that’s video, podcasts, anything. The web is a medium of media.

o Flipboard is rolling out video ads in September and the first advertiser will be Chanel.

Mike McCue, CEO of Flipboard at ReadWriteMix

Mike McCue, CEO of Flipboard at ReadWriteMix

It was a great discussion and crowd – thanks to everyone who joined us for the evening! You can see some favorite moments from the crowd on the Twitter hashtag #ReadWriteMix. And of course there's a Flipboard magazine for ReadWriteMix here.

For more analysis on Flipboard’s announcement and ReadWriteMix, check out ReadWrite’s coverage of the event here.

Want to sponsor a future ReadWriteMix? Want to suggest a speaker? We'd love to hear from you! Drop us a note at

[Top and bottom photos via Ken Yeung on Flickr]

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