Guardian shuns Android and slams down iPhone subscription charges

Guardian shuns Android and introduces iPhone subscription charges

UK newspaper the Guardian continues its love affair with all things Apple, and has launched a shiny  new version of its newspaper app  for the iPhone and iPod Touch platforms, while ignoring the growing legions of Android users.

The first Guardian iPhone app launched in December 2009 and proved an immediate hit, being promptly rewarded with 200,000 downloads.

The paper is claiming a ‘significantly high’ retention rate with over 170,000 unique users – or 75% of those who had downloaded the app – continuing to use it on a monthly basis.

That sounds very high, but the figure drops down to 25% for daily usage, with just over half accessing it just once a week.

Guardian shuns Android and introduces iPhone subscription charges

Subscription fees introduced

The biggest change is that the Guardian are now getting rid of the previous one-off app payment and introducing a much less attractive subscription model, priced at £2.99 for 6 months and £3.99 for 12 months.

Here’s their reasoning for cranking up the pricing :

So why have we chosen to launch a new app? The answer is quite straightforward. The App Store has come a long way over the last 12 months and now forms a major part of the way we deliver content to our mobile audience, whose expectations are, rightly, rising.

We can’t stand still. With the new app we’ll be launching more frequent updates, offering a broader range of content and bringing you a better experience. This means ensuring we can meet the associated development costs.

The best way to provide this in the longer term, we believe, is to move to a subscription model – and at £2.99 for 6 months and £3.99 for 12 months, we believe the new app represents excellent value for money.

This has always been an ambitious project, not least because we opted to charge a small one-off fee of £2.39 from the start.

While we remain committed to offering our content for free on and our recently upgraded mobile website, it’s clear that in order to deliver the highest quality product for a single platform, considerable investment is required.

It’s all about the money

To be honest, the only commitment we’re seeing here is the Guardian’s desire to make more money, and we suspect that their retention rate is going to plummet once users are asked to fork out four quid a year.

There’s also bad news for those who shelled out for the original app too – with the paper ditching all support for it in just six months, it’ll soon become as useless as a useless thing.

Guardian shuns Android and introduces iPhone subscription charges

Free in the US

Meanwhile, Americans will be able to enjoy a subscription-free version of the new app, albeit at the expense of having advertising all over t’shop.

What’s new?

If you’re still up for downloading the all-new, all-pricier Guardian app, here’s their list of what you can expect for your extra outlay:

• Faster, automatic updates for our live news and sport blogs – no need to refresh

• A new football scores service with free goal alerts by team and match for the main UK leagues and European competitions

• Our award-winning video content is included for the first time, and looks great whether you’re connected via 3G or Wi-Fi

• You’ll see reader comments below articles that are open to them; we’ll be adding in the ability to add comments via the app as soon as we can

• A brand new homepage design – look out for the multimedia carousel – and a new treatment for live blogs

• A new way to view the stories trending across and social media (otherwise known as Zeitgeist on our website)

• Use the app in portrait or landscape mode

• A brand new search facility, which we believe makes this one of the most comprehensive news apps

The hard sell

Not convinced? Here’s a load of iPhone-toting Guardian types enthusing about the app:

[Guardian] – [App Store link]

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