A&N Mobile explains why Metro will be a powerful publishing brand for games

Launching with Super Yum Yum on iPhone

A&N Mobile explains why Metro will be a powerful publishing brand for games
Well known to the UK audience in terms of its free morning paper, as well as its online and news apps, Metro is now becoming a game publisher.

It's a surprising move perhaps, but one that makes sense when you consider Metro's daily reach, and its potential power as part of A&N Media, the consumer arm of DMGT, the company behind the Mail newspapers and other regional media as well as big property, retail and motor brands.

A&N's head of business development Renate Nyborg and head of marketing Ian Macleod revealed their plans.

Pocket Gamer: Why does a media company such as A&N want to become a games/app publisher?

Opportunities in the smartphone application space have fast become clear to brands and developers alike, and so have the issues in terms of gaining market share.

There is too much consumer choice (300k apps in the Apple App Store alone), and most developers lack marketing experience, time or budget. Some of the issues are also specific to European developers, with nearly all major publishers being US-based.

How does a brand like paper/website brand like Metro work in this environment?

Metro is the ideal vehicle for bringing app marketing to a mainstream audience:

Metro readers are 2.5 times as likely to own a smartphone,

Metro reaches a 18-44 year old, full time working urbanite audience,

Attentive audience of 3.5 million readers every weekday, has 3.2 million UK unique users each month,

350,000 people have downloaded the Metro iPhone or iPad application.

What specific areas will you focus on in terms of games?

We are focusing on social and casual genres: strategy, puzzle and action games.

These genres appeal most to our urbanite audience, as they commute or spend a lot of time on public transport and have time to kill. However for us, the most important focus is bringing quality apps and games to the market

Is this just an iOS business, or do you have plans for other platforms such as Android and WP7?

Yes, we intend to develop Metro Apps as a cross-platform publishing brand. For obvious reasons we are focused on Apple devices at this stage but we are actively engaging with other mobile platforms.

For instance our Metro News app recently launched on the Ovi store and we have other cross platform releases planned for Q1 2011.

What advantages do you think you can provide to game developers?

Metro Apps has a unique platform to communicate with urbanites - a captive, full-time working, audience aged 18-44, who are three times as likely to own a smartphone compared to other print readers.

Our marketing influence goes beyond our strong footprint in traditional print, and includes TV, online, social media, PR, mobile websites and our existing portfolio of mobile applications. We can also provide developers with access to designers, product managers and UI specialists to optimise their app for success.

Do you have a goal in terms of the volume of releases, or is it more of a per release basis?

We have internal targets but our focus is on quality over quantity.

Over the next year we intend to build of a strong portfolio, with a number of key releases and partnerships already lined up. We are also focused on growing a significant community of mobile consumers and gamers through a number of major releases, which can cross promote Metro Apps on a global level.

Do you think it's an issue that Metro Apps is a UK-centric brand?

Our marketing capacity in the UK is a major added bonus and door opener, but we are launching Metro Apps as a global publishing business.

We will provide the exact same marketing support that any other publisher would in terms of new application launches, including social media marketing, digital and mobile advertising and through strong relationships with app store managers.

We have the added benefit of nationwide promotional power in the UK, which we have already seen trickles down into greater visibility to a global audience.

Can you say anything about the first titles you'll be releasing?

We operate in six main categories that provide benefits to our core audience: News, Games, Transport, Sport, Events and Music.

The first game we are launching is Super Yum Yum: Puzzle Adventures, a special edition of the BAFTA-nominated game which has been downloaded over 1 million times for Java handsets, and is also out for Nintendo DS and PC.

Thanks to Renate and Ian for their time.

You can check out what Metro's getting up to via web, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.