955 Dreams has won a lot of acclaim for its slick apps, including Band of the Day, which was Apple’s App of the Year runner up (s aapl). Now the company is letting other publishers make use of its smarts by releasing a publishing platform as well as its own ad engine, so publishers can create magazine-style apps complete with, full-page glossy interstitial ads.
955 Dreams’ goal is to allow content owners to create polished publishing experiences, in hopes of helping them stay relevant in this age of mobile apps. A number of content publishers have already approached 955 Dreams about using its platforms to power their apps. But the company believes that it needs to provide one seamless product and that means taking care of not only the publishing but the advertising component as well.
Kiran Bellubbi, founder and CEO of 955 Dreams told me he was looking to create mobile ads that are complementary to the mobile experience and feel at home on a high-quality app. He said he looked at other ad platforms but found they didn’t work with what he was looking to create.
“Monetization is key for mobile apps but how do you introduce ads into high end products without diluting experience? We didn’t say we wanted to build an ad engine but other solutions didn’t make sense. How many ad networks actually build apps? They’re not invested in the same way as we are,” said Bellubbi.
For now, advertisers can place ads in the Band of the Day app, which has racked up more than 2 million downloads on the iPad and iPhone. Red Bull and Burberry are among the first advertisers to market through the app. The ads are basic full-screen interstitial ads for now, but will soon include more dynamic and interactive ads that also offer video. Over time, 955 Dreams hopes to build out an ad network, with high-end brands, who will be able to advertise in other apps that use 955 Dreams ad engine.
I’ve really admired 955 Dreams’ products, which are really well designed and show what next generation publishing can look like on mobile devices. I think it’s great that other content owners can now use 955 Dreams to bring their publications to life. There’s a lot of questions about how newspapers and magazines can evolve and I’d like to think tools like 955 Dreams can be part of the answer. This is why 955 Dreams raised $3.25 million in January, to really re-imagine mobile publishing.
The ad play is in keeping with 955 Dreams’ focus on quality, though I’m not sure if publishers will be as eager to use that. It will depend on some of the brands that are in the network and how well the ads monetize. But it doesn’t hurt to give publishers more tools to make money.