Friday, June 19, 2009

New publishing model? There's an app for that.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2009 at 2:35 PM

Men's Health unveiled a new iPhone application that allows users to download additional content from inside the application — a feature only available with the phone's new software. Users can download the $1.99 app and view workout plans and track their progress, but additional workout features (99 cents to $1.99), which are regularly updated, can be purchased inside the original $1.99 app. A few games use this in-app store for adding bonus levels or add-ons, but this is a first from a publisher.

"A lot of previous apps were one-and-done purchases, where you buy Tetris for $1.99, play it for a while, then forget about it," said David Zinczenko, editor in chief of Men's Health and editorial director of Women's Health, which are published by Rodale. "We have the opportunity to upsell anyone who has purchased the base app. It could be workouts, [magazine features such as] 'Eat This Not That,' it could move into the fashion and grooming field. It could be anything; that's what's really exciting for us."

It's that "it could be anything" part that makes me wonder: Could this model be used for just about any print publication? Or is it likely to tank, given the popularity of fart machines, light sabers and digital beer. Then again, this is a fitness application. Let's see some newspapers step up, and maybe we can get a better view.

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