Guardian newspaper charges for iPhone app

Guardian newspaper charges for iPhone appThe UK’s most popular lefty(ish) newspaper, The Guardian, has created an iPhone app and made the unusual decision of charging users a one-off fee of £2.39 fee to download it.

Most major newspapers have been offering multi-platform mobile apps for accessing their content for some time, but the Guardian is one of the few to charge for theirs – an indication of how newspapers are struggling to find  a profitable niche in the digital age.

Their app will serve up the usual fare of news, comment, features, audio and photos but unlike many of their freebie competitors apps, there’s no video at present.

The Guardian has been struggling recently, jettisoning popular print supplements in the style of a sinking ship throwing excess baggage overboard, but we’re not convinced this app is going to let them claw back much revenue – especially as they’ve said that their website and mobile platform will remain free.

The Guardian’s mobile product manager Jonathon Moore hit back at criticism about the app pricing in his blog:

At an early stage we decided to set the bar high, which hopefully means the app has been planned, designed, tested and developed to offer a truly engaging experience. The investment involved in this requires us to ask a small fee in return.

We can’t see ourselves being persuaded to fork out for this, especially as there’s so many other equally good alternatives available for nowt, but how about you? Would you pay for this app?

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10 Comments on “Guardian newspaper charges for iPhone app”

  1. when I heard they had an app out I went to download it, assuming it was free
    when I found it was a couple of quid I didn’t..out of mild shock and mild stinginess
    but I might well go back and pay for it

  2. I’ve paid for it – it’s more customisable than the mobile site, and offers extra features such as trending, and I can download a snapshot of whichever sections I want to read offline, which is handy. So far, I like it.

  3. I can’t say I’ve ever felt the need to know what’s ‘trending’ on a newspaper site!

    The download bit is useful, but there’s other ways to do that.

  4. I bought it, it’s not as good as the Telegraph in terms of Twitter integration and user submitted news but I spoke with someone at the Guardian and they said Twitter is coming. And they’re going to go down the route of adding user submitted news. Apparently one of the editors is big on what he refers to as ‘mutualisation of news’.

    Like the Telegraph is allows offline reading but where it beats several shades out of the Telegraph is content. The Guardian iPhone app has huge amounts of news content compared to the sparse offering of the Telegraph one. The BBC maybe free but it’s content isn’t always great, it’s slow for breaking news and the tech section is a barely disguised pr companies wet dream at times…

    I second Piers’ call for an u75 app! I’d especially like a decent one to run the forums through because they never seem to work via the browser.

  5. Yup – I’ve played with it overnight and I’m more than chuffed with the amount of content and the speed at which it’s updated. The download feature’s well useful where I live, in a black hole under a big hill.

  6. got it just for reading on the tube. i’ve already not brought 1 copy of the print edition, so only another 1.39 and it will have paid for itself.

  7. It’ll get interesting if everyone switches to mobile versions of the Guardian as a one-off £2.39 charge won’t provide them with much of a long term income.

  8. Well the Guardian have already said they will charge for some content at some point. It’s possible they’ll have micro charges for things like breaking news or getting content before the online or print edition I suppose. Or maybe early access for the jobs section?

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