The Guardian launches a new iPhone app today, which the paper touts as delivering more frequent updates and broader content. But the rationale behind the new app isn't simply to provide a better user experience, but to initiate the new subscription model that this digital version of the app will provide.The British newspaper
The Guardian already has an iPhone app, one that will be supplanted by today's release. Since it launched in December 2009, it's been downloaded over 200,000 times, and paper says it has a "significantly high" user retention rate, with 75% of those who've downloaded it continuing to use it on a monthly basis. 25% use it every single day.
Rather than charging a one-time fee to download the app - as with the old version - the new one is free but introduces an ongoing subscription: £2.99 for 6 months and £3.99 for 12 months. For U.S. customers - only about 8% of the app's readership, according to The Guardian - the app will be ad-supported.
The existing app will continue to be available, but only for the next six months when it will be shuttered.
With the introduction of a subscription fee, The Guardian's iPhone app joins the newspapers that are trying to find new ways to monetize their content for online readers. According to paidContent, The Guardian has "devalued itself on mobile to between four and 12 percent of its equivalent print subscription price." Whether or not that makes it seem like a good deal for newspaper readers, however, remains to be seen.