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Dennis invests £1.5m in technology brand Alphr offering new content tie-ups for advertisers

Dennis Publishing has channelled £1.5m into the launch Alphr – a digital brand dedicated to providing a fresh lens on new technologies – marking its largest ever pureplay investment.

Editorial focus for the responsive site, unveiled today (3 June) with IBM as launch partner, will be on providing a provocative voice in the UK market covering all technologies that are changing people’s personal and business lifestyles.

It will offer more than just news and reviews and look to centre on the innovators and technology entrepreneurs in the market, with plans to launch an Influencers list to recognise the best digital entrepreneurs.

The publisher has set itself some aggressive targets for Alphr, aiming to generate 2.5 million monthly uniques by the end of this year. Content will be geared towards attracting readers who embrace technology and want to better understand how to use it to benefit their businesses and the future of the connected landscape, regardless of their job title or gender, with the site aimed at attracting both male and female audiences.

Deputy managing director of Dennis Technology Tim Danton told The Drum, the launch is indicative of how embedded technology has become accessible across a wide range of business roles, with tech buying having moved from the “basement to the boardroom”.

Meanwhile, the site will open up opportunities for it to work with a new slate of advertisers in a range of different ways. Danton said: “Advertising will be entirely embedded into the experience – the degree of which will very much depend on the brief from the advertiser. We are inviting advertisers to experiment with us."

Advertisers will have access to a range of rich media display and video formats, as well as the opportunity to become more integrated into the site sponsoring interactive polls for example or potentially co-creating tools for the site.

"There could be cases where Dennis will help solve an advertiser brief, beyond offering standard advertising alone. So for example, if an advertiser has an app they want to push, we could potentially create ways in which users could skip a couple of steps in the process after they download it. We could tie in with that advertiser's database potentially to see if we can fill in the first few steps for that user, making the process simpler for them. The whole point is this site is about cutting edge technology and we want the advertising experiences to reflect that," added Danton.

Dennis will be pitching the new opportunities of the Alphr brand to agencies in the coming weeks.

Around half of Dennis' overall revenues are generated from digital, much of which comes from subscriptions, while the majority of its ad revenue stems from digital.

The publisher has launched a variety of print-based and digital products over the last year, adopting a quick-to-market approach even for print products, and as a result has seen a 30 per cent revenue hike.

Dennis chief exeuctive James Tye told The Drum more brands will launch in the coming months – a mix of digital and print, reflecting its stance as a multimedia publisher.

The 30 per cent growth has been driven by its digital innovation, but the fact it has stemmed from digital is “incidental”, according to Tye.

“It has been an interesting lesson for us. We’ve been digital first for so long – we wanted to apply that back into print. As long as you’re thinking brand first – whether it’s a digital or a print product will depend on the objectives of the brand you’re launching," he said.

As a result it has adopted a very flexible approach to print products, with its latest print product Minecraft magazine taking only five weeks from inception to launch. “Everyone thinks agility has to be digital, but it doesn’t. It’s far better to collaborate for the sake of speed with any launch and then iterate afterwards," added Tye.

Last month Dennis revealed it has appointed Archant's digital boss Paul Hood as head of digital for its technology division.

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