Men’s Health tries to monetize the iPhone

June 29, 2009

For those of you who aren’t Apple geeks, you should know that they recently released the third iteration of the iPhone – and with the low-end model priced at just $99 with a contract, market penetration can’t help but go up. Now’s the time to research whether an iPhone app (and BlackBerry too, if you’re so inclined) could work for your business.

A number of magazines in the U.S. have done it already. Condé Nast’s Epicurious (warning: links will take you to the iTunes store) has an ad-supported recipe app that you can download for free. Lucky has a shopping app for the same price. But it’s Men’s Health that has upped the ante by offering not just a paid app (it costs $1.99), but a paid app with extra content available for an additional fee.

You see, one feature of the new iPhone operating system is that you can sell additional features within an application for an added costs – which has huge implications for content-based apps. (This feature only applies to applications that you have to pay for to begin with – a free app is always free.) Men’s Health is offering workouts – so you get a basic set for the first $1.99, and have to pay extra if you want more workouts. But this could work for something as simple as an e-reader version of your magazine – sell a couple of years of archives for $0.99 or $1.99, and then let people download each new issue as it comes out (even early!) for a fee.

I don’t know about you, but I’d love to have some of my text-heavy magazine subscriptions on my phone. Walrus, Toronto Life, I’m talking to you. Make it a pleasure to read and I really think people will pay for it.

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