Men’s Health Editor Discusses iPhone App Successes

I recently saw this great interview over at Advertising Age with brand editor Matt Bean of Men’s Health, who is in charge of the publisher’s three paid iPhone apps that have, as a group, so far been downloaded over 50,000 times.

Ad Age reporter Abbey Klaaseen and Bean discuss what publishers should be thinking about when trying to launch apps. There are many challenges at hand for publishers looking to move into the iPhone apps space, says Bean, but if you play your cards right, you can have a very successful app… or three.

“One of our challenges is finding ways for our content to appeal to a wider audience. Apps users are not a one-to-one map of Men’s Health subscribers,” Bean says in the interview.

Not all content is created equal, he explains. Some content just doesn’t work for mobile, so you have to be careful. It’s difficult to balance an editorial staff around creating content for print, online and mobile, but Men’s Health proves it can be done.

When publishers get it right, that app can become a valuable marketing tool. Bean says that he currently doesn’t have plans to release a paid app that includes advertising beyond the $5 ESPN fantasy app that has a Bud Light ad built into it. But he’s interested in ways to present sponsor information in “an entertaining fashion that would not make anyone feel cheated.”

With such limited screen real estate for mobile marketing and advertising, it’s important to use the space wisely. This statement is even more true when it comes to paid apps, which in the case of the publishing industry, is the direction the apps are headed in order for the once print-only publications to stay afloat. For instance, The Wall Street Journal recently announced its free app is free no more.