Stella joins Clique’s clique

A copy of yesterday’s Stella The Sunday Telegraph‘s women’s supplement, has just crossed my lunch table and I almost choked when I clocked ‘From the Editor’.  ‘Welcome to the first ever interactive issue of Stella‘, it reads, going on to say ‘It is as easy as 1-2-3 to access our exciting extra content with your smartphone or tablet…get scanning!’.  The following pages contain symbols that when scanned reveal videos as well as the ability to buy some of the goods shown, as readers can with Clique, the new ‘clickable’ fashion and beauty magazine that I wrote the other week.  Of course this timing may be a coincidence, but I wonder if the Stella production team decided to run this ‘special interactive issue’ in response to the new launch.  Not that Clique is likely to become a rival to Stella in terms of audience or even advertising revenue, but even so the latest title on the block does seem to be pioneering in a direction that other publications with similar content are already following to some degree or another.  Is Stella attempting to ride the crest of this new wave too?  It looks that way, although it is notable that the high end brands are on board. The advertisements for Lancome and Valentina fragrances, for example, occupying the premium pages near the front of this Stella issue, are not scannable.  In fact, a quick scan (pardon the the pun!) through the issue reveals that the only advert from which the reader scan buy directly is for Amazon and the latest series of The Paradise on DVD.  Other advertisements encourage shopping via their website or app, but are not actually clickable themselves.  This may be because there wasn’t time in the production of Stella to get interactive advertisements (lending weight to the idea that the whole special issue is,directly or indirectly, a response to Clique‘s launch).  However, for clickable content to have a sustainable future that outlasts the immediate novelty value, advertisers from across the spectrum will need to be in on the act to support (ie subsidize) the inevitable rise in production costs and expenses that interactive editorial content will bring.  If the Debenhams beauty advertisement on the facing page doesn’t move to being clickable, for instance, then I don’t believe that ‘Scan page to shop and to watch make-up video’ option will last longer than the occasional special issue.

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