Canadian Magazine Industry News
31 March 2010,     TORONTO
The Hockey News launches VIP application and mobile alerts
The Hockey News has launched a VIP mobile addition to its Blackberry and iPhone applications as well as text alerts for all mobile phone users.

Transcontinental mobile strategist: product manager, mobile and e-reader platforms Tom Emrich says the VIP addition will be available to all 515,000 users worldwide who have downloaded The Hockey News application.

The Hockey News VIP mobile program will be different for the iPhone and Blackberyy, says Emrich because of the varying capabilities of the devices.
The Hockey News Blackberry alerts
The Hockey News Blackberry alerts
“iPhone users who subscribe to the VIP area will have access to video as well as live, real time reminders and score alerts for their teams,” he says. “Blackberry users only have access to the alerts.”

Subscription to the VIP area costs $1.99 per month for iPhone users and $2 for Blackberry owners. Through competitive analysis, The Hockey News found it is the first iPhone sports application to have a VIP area with video and alerts, says Emrich.

The Hockey News isn’t leaving non-smart phone users out to dry, it has also just introduced real-time alerts for all mobile users, says Emrich. “For the most part The Hockey News has been focusing on application development, but its reach is dependent on the hand sets of the people in Canada,” he says. “Text alerts allow us to expand our reach to all of the hand sets in Canada.” To gain access to the alerts, users text THN to 22233 and will be guided through a series of texts to set-up and personalize the messages that will be received. Standard text messaging charges apply to the alerts.

There are display advertisements within The Hockey News applications and text alerts, says Emrich but no sponsors as of yet. “Though it is definitely something we are interested in pursuing,” he says.

As for expanding its technological reach into iPads, Emrich will only say that Transcontinental has plans and strategies for e-readers and tablets for 2010 and beyond.

The Hockey News is published 30 times per year by Transcontinental Media. Thehockeynews.com had 348,000 unique visitors last month and its newsletter has 23,000 subscribers.

— Val Maloney
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