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Men’s Health Publisher Rodale Adds New Mobile Head, Aims For Premium Apps

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Rodale, the health and wellness publisher behind magazines like Men’s Health and books like Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, has appointed Matt Bean as its associate VP of mobile, social and emerging media. The appointment is a promotion, and an acknowledgement for past work: as brand editor for Men’s Health and Women’s Health, Bean had already been behind the launch of some 40 apps for smartphones and the iPad. The next stage, he says, is premium apps.

The appointment is part of a digital reorganization at the company, and Bean will work with a new team to better focus the company’s efforts in new platforms, according to MediaWeek.

To date, Rodale has had a pretty impressive record in mobile and digital content: in addition to 40 apps for mobile devices, there are iPad apps and a video game, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, for the Kinect Xbox 360 platform. Earlier this month, Rodale teamed up with MSN to launch a health and fitness site, Fitbie.

In the MediaWeek article, Bean says that he wants 2011 to be about more premium apps: less of the free or sub-$2 sales; and more products like Rodale’s first e-book, The Six-Pack Secret, selling for $9.99, and apps like Cook This Not That!, selling for for $8.

I’m not interested in putting out $1.99 apps anymore,” he says. “You want to maximize the number of people you reach. You also want to complement the products you have elsewhere. With 350,000 apps in the [Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) iTunes] store, it’s a risk to develop a $2 app and accomplish both of those goals.”

Other digital media appointments made in the reorg include Sean Nolan as VP and GM for Rodale Digital; John McCarthy as SVP for circulation and audience development; and Todd Leiser as SVP for business intelligence. All three will report to Gregg Michaelson, president of integrated marketing and sales and CMO. James Kreckler was promoted to vp, digital sales, reporting to Mary Murcko, evp, group publisher.

Bean will report to Ken Citron, the CIO and COO of Rodale.

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