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Advertisers are reportedly lining up to cut deals with publishers for the iPad, despite the uncertainty over whether Apple's latest gadget will be successful in the marketplace.
Time magazine has signed up Unilever, Toyota, and Fidelity Investments and has at least three other marketing agreements in place, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, quoting people familiar with the deals. The magazine is charging about $200,000 for each ad spot in each of the first eight iPad issues.
Other publishers striking deals with advertisers include Conde Nast publications. The company is offering interactive ads, including video, in the iPad version of Wired magazine to advertisers that buy eight pages of advertising in a single issue of the paper edition of the magazine, the newspaper said.
The Wall Street Journal itself is also jumping onto the iPad bandwagon. Quoting people familiar with the matter, the Journal said six advertisers, including Coca-Cola and FedEx, have agreements to place ads in the newspaper's iPad edition, which will cost subscribers $17.99 a month. A four-month ad package costs $400,000.
While many major magazines have yet to announce plans to launch iPad editions, the report is an indication that advertisers and publishers have high hopes for the tablet computer that will operate much like the iPhone, but with a larger screen and no voice communications.
Apple is scheduled to release the iPad April 3, and it appears the company's marketing arm has been successful in generating consumer interest. A study released this month by market researcher ComScore found that Internet users have learned about the iPad at "breakneck" speed and already have as much awareness about the device as they do about Amazon's popular Kindle electronic reader.
Interest, however, does not necessarily mean people are ready to hand over the $499 starting price of the iPad, which has its critics. They point to the tablet's lack of a camera, phone, and Flash, a ubiquitous, Adobe-developed, interactive Web technology used in playing multimedia.
Analysts estimate that the number of people who ordered the iPad the first three days it was available for pre-order was about 152,000. The rate of orders, however, topped out at 25,000 per hour the first few hours, and then tanked during the rest of the time period to about 1,000 per hour, according to analyst guesstimates. Apple has not released any figures.