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Digital edition learnings from Immediate Media’s Top Gear

Tim Hudson, director of international licensing and syndication at Immediate Media in the UK spoke to attendees today at FIPP’s Asia Pacific Digital Magazine Media Conference in Beijing, China, about the company’s digital editions strategy.

The company’s automotive title, Top Gear, originated as a TV programme and is now a huge international brand, with 500 million TV viewers annually and 214 territories available for broadcast. Hudson said the TV programme is launching in China this month, which is part of the company’s strategy to “expand the business” in the country.

Top Gear’s app is now the number one grossing automotive magazine on the digital newsstand and has seen massive growth in advertising revenues, according to Hudson. “The app has around five ads per issue,” he said, “and the advertisers are getting click-through rates of 20 per cent. We’re seeing similar yields to the print edition too, which has more ad pages.”

Contrary to some other media owners, Top Gear’s app replicates the print magazine’s content. “We believe you have to do this because we have a huge system of brand values around the title – we can’t deviate too much,” said Hudson.

The app overlays video content, which creates engagement. “The value of video is apparent,” said Hudson, “exclusive videos, give readers content they can’t get anywhere else. The brand’s photographers create it, which keeps the costs down and gives us brand consistency.”

As for the results, Hudson said readers spend twice as long interacting with the Top Gear app than the magazine. “We think that this is due to its video content – it’s absolutely critical to the success of the app.”

Hudson’s advice on creating an app
1. Don’t reinvent your brand – lots of people have spent years building it. We’ve got to be consistent. 
2. Build on existing values 
3. Use exclusive interactive content, namely video
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