WebMD touts Medscape Mobile, revenue growth

By Brian Dolan
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Last week WebMD highlighted its newest iPhone offering, Medscape Mobile during its quarterly investor call, which included some interesting metrics for the company's advertising revenues, CME program growth and general Web traffic numbers. Given the comments about Medscape Mobile's success to date, it seems like the company is looking toward its mobile app for future revenue growth.

Medscape CME iPhone"On the mobile front, earlier this month, we launched Medscape Mobile. It's our first mobile application for physicians. Medscape Mobile provides the most comprehensive drug information clinical reference tools, medical news and continuing medical education on a mobile device," Wayne Gattinella, CEO, president and director of WebMD told investors on the company's recent quarterly call. "Launched initially for the iPhone and iPod Touch, it's the only medical application to deliver specialty-specific news and medical education that leverages our assets from Medscape's award-winning professional editorial team. I'm really pleased to tell you that after just two weeks, Medscape Mobile has already become the number one most downloaded medical application on Apple's App Store."

A representative from WebMD confirmed to mobihealthnews this week that (like everyone else) the company is not exactly sure how specifically Apple's AppStore ranks the most downloaded applications in a given category. While downloads seems to be the obvious metric, the time frame Apple uses (most downloaded during the past 24 hours, during the past week, or during the past month?) is still undisclosed.

"New development is underway to launch new product enhancements, as well as additional mobile platforms for Medscape Mobile, including the BlackBerry later this year," Gattinella said. "Our consumer iPhone app that launched last November is also yielding fast growth with now over 750,000 download. We see the mobile market as an important opportunity for future growth as we leverage the strength of whether these brand across multiple consumer and physician platforms."

WebMD said its advertising revenues grew by 18 percent thanks to continuing demand from both pharmaceutical and consumer product companies in the health and wellness markets. The company also noted that network traffic from consumers and physicians grew to 59.8 million unique users per month during the quarter, an increase of 24 percent over the same period last year. Page views for the quarter grew by 31 percent to 1.4 billion pages.

WebMD said that Medscape's share of all physician accredited education programs, both online and offline, went from 19 percent of all physicians continuing medical education (CME) to 26 percent of all CME between 2007 and 2008. Medscape's share of online physician accredited education programs reached 62 percent of all online programs delivered in 2008, the company said.

We wonder if Medscape's new, popular iPhone app will move the needle on that metric in the year ahead.