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Why Hearst Created an Advertising Director for 'Tablet Media'

Q&A With Hearst President Michael Clinton on the Newly Created Job and What It Means for Hearst's Magazine Publishers

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Hearst Magazines has named an advertising manager at Town & Country to a newly created position serving as liaison between advertisers and agencies on the one hand and tablet and mobile apps from Hearst's brands on the other.

So starting Oct. 1, Avi Zimak, who had been advertising manager at Town & Country for the past three years, will be advertising director for tablet media at Hearst.

We asked Michael Clinton, president-marketing and publishing director at Hearst Magazines, why this job had to be created, what it means for magazine publishers who want to sell their iPad ad inventory themselves, and why it didn't go to someone with more apparent digital expertise.

Advertising Age: Why is a position like this important?

Michael Clinton: There's a lot of interest from advertisers and agencies about what they can do on iPad and tablet editions. It's an emerging business, obviously, so there are a lot of unknowns. So his job will be to keep the internal world and the external world up to speed on what's happening on the advertising side of tablets.

Chris Wilkes [VP-digital editions and audience development at Hearst Magazines Digital Media] runs our tablet initiatives and our e-reader initiatives but we believe that the integration of print, digital and tablets is very exciting to advertisers as they build cross-platform buys from us. Avi will be the advertising liaison on that side of the platform.

We're already having advertisers buy multiplatform programs that include the iPad.

Ad Age: A single advertising "liaison between the advertising community and the mobile and tablet versions of Hearst's brands" definitely suggests that Hearst might offer tablet ad buys across titles, rather than just selling tablet edition ad space one title at a time. But don't individual title publishers want to sell this inventory themselves?

Mr. Clinton: They will be. The individual publishers and their teams will be selling the advertising. Avi will be their internal go-to person so that they can say "What are best practices, pricing models, strategies for selling?" So he's going to be sort of functioning in a corporate role.

Then also he'll be working with our corporate teams -- the Heart integrated-media team, the digital team -- for big corporate initiatives. And in those cases, Avi will sell those.

The individual publishers and their teams will sell their own vertical apps as part of their initiatives but then we'll have corporate initiatives as well.

Ad Age: Zimak has been advertising manager at Town & Country since July 2007, following positions at Gourmet, Details and Business 2.0. Shouldn't someone in this position have more experience selling digital media that his resume suggests, or is the resume misleading on that score?

Mr. Clinton: He spent some time also at Ziff Davis, so he's had some experience selling print and digital. But this is a whole different media platform. So this is not even necessarily the same as digital. There's not a lot of experts because the platform is all of what, 12 weeks old? So we're taking one of our talented young executives and putting him on a fast learning curve to learn about all things tablet. Everyone is sort of starting from zero on this.

Ad Age: How important is the push for magazine subscriptions on the iPad to interesting advertisers in mobile and tablet ad inventory? It seems like subscriptions will be key to building enough scale for advertisers to find tablet editions places they need to be, unless they're making buys across networks such as iAds.

Mr. Clinton: Right now I think advertisers are looking to be part of the experience and they want to be innovators. So we are setting ourselves up to serve that need.

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