NOW IT’S THE FT’S TURN: The Financial Times’ glossy, How to Spend It, has been something of a pioneer in the space — it celebrates its 15th anniversary this fall, and while other supplements are reducing frequency or scaling back expansion plans, it has been expanding, from 26 issues last year to 28 this year, with 29 planned for 2010.
Now the magazine has a new Web site, which goes live Saturday. As competitors like The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ. experiment with static online-only editions, and The New York Times’ T steadily ramps up its multimedia offerings at The Moment blog and on Twitter, How to Spend It will offer its own take on how to do luxury online.
The magazine’s previous online presence was a three-year-old digital edition that was an unchanged representation of the magazine’s pages — now acknowledged as a model that lacks both the interactivity of the Web and the tactility of the page. Now, said editor Gillian de Bono, the emphasis is on “deconstructing and reinterpreting” the magazine online.
In an attempt to bring a fashion shoot to life, for example, the site will employ a three-dimensional tiled imaging system that allows the reader to move through different angles and zoom in. There will also be multimedia related to magazine content, including a video of an underwater fashion shoot at launch. Founding editor Lucia van der Postings will be blogging at “Van der Posts” three times a week, alongside video bulletins from tech columnist Jonathan Margolis, daily posts from regular contributors at The Reconnoisseur blog, and a daily gift guide launching in November.
Krug, Harry Winston and Rolex are the launch sponsors. Dominique Moseley, magazine publishing director at the Financial Times, said the new site would also provide opportunities for luxury brands that want to advertise online but are concerned about quality control. To try to replicate the experience of a double spread in a magazine, howtospendit.com has a large-canvas ad format that appears after a reader’s first click, and takes place only once per visit. Advertisers will also have the option of dedicated microsites that are integrated with the homepage.
Most of the Financial Times site is behind a paywall. How to Spend It’s site is free for now, but a spokeswoman said the company had not ruled out the possibility of paid content in the future.