New Mag+ CEO sees b-to-b publishing opportunity

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Gregg Hano took over this week as CEO of Mag+, a mobile media platform for magazines. Most recently Hano was senior VP-corporate sales at Bonnier Corp.'s technology group, where he was a driving force behind Popular Science's iPad app. That app debuted two years ago and relied on Mag+ technology. Hano spoke with Digital Directions about Mag+'s plans for the b-to-b publishing market and how the introduction of the tablet has been a “game changer.” Digital Directions: What will be your first steps at Mag+? Gregg Hano: My first steps are going to focus on two things. One is the product, and keeping the product strong and continuing to innovate. And then (second) is sales, continuing to grow the number of users, the numbers of apps we license, moving more and more into the b-to-b space. DD: How is Mag+ performing in the marketplace? Hano: In 2011, we had about 125 different brands in the market. Today, through April 22, we have about 280 different brands in the market. From those numbers you can see that we've more than doubled, and we're only four months into the year. We have very aggressive goals, on the order of 800 apps for the year. DD: Since their introduction more than a decade ago, digital editions have been plagued by poor user experience on desktop and laptop screens. What's your assessment of how the tablet has impacted digital editions? Hano: The tablet was a complete game changer. I think that while some of our competitors do basic PDFs and some people don't care for that, with our Mag+ product we really don't have a lot of the same issues that you're describing. The brands that are using our product—brands like Outside, Maxim, Popular Science, Mad Magazine, Hemispheres magazine, Time Out Chicago—these brands understand how to create premium content and engage consumers with that content, with video, with the proper Web links. DD: How are advertisers responding to the tablet opportunity? Hano: (From my experience in my previous job as) group publisher for the Bonnier technology group, I can speak from a customer's point of view. What we're seeing on the advertising side is amazing interest in how to engage consumers in this new platform. In this case of Popular Science, the 45 or 50 advertisers we have in any given issue, on the order of 40 of them are opting in to be in our digital editions. And of those 40, 12 to 15 are truly enhancing their ads and making them much more interactive and engaging for consumer use.
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