The paid content debate: Freemium Contiues

Guardian iPhone App

Guardian iPhone App

This morning sees the launch of the new iPhone version of a national newspaper, in the form of The Guardian iPhone App. This like many others on the market (New York Times for e.g.) offers readers the opportunity to browse, swipe, tap and toggle their way through the papers content in a finger friendly iPhone version. However this is one fundamental difference here, the price tag. £2.39 to be precise. As Tech Editor @charlesarthur mentioned this morning, about the same price as a Tall Starbucks Latte, but representing a very clear stance on behalf of The Guardian in their approach to online content.

The Guardian famously was one of the first nationals to attempt a paid content model back in the early part of the decade for their web portal, which was later abandoned after little take up of the service, so it will be interesting to see how readers react to the penny-gap challenge now placed before them.

The app in itself, built by Salford based mobile marketing agency 2ergo (Client), takes the platform a few steps further than previous apps of this kind, particularly in the form of downloadable content, podcast streaming and tag browsing, through a very neat hover window style, much akin to the quickly spreading raft of Adobe Air applications such as TweetDeck or Spotify.

The ability to favorite both sections, as well as individual pieces of content also adds a nice touch to the browsing experience, and instant access to Galleries, making full use of the Photo Browser iPhone API, makes scrolling through pictures a very pleasurable experience.

All in all a well thought out and executed app, with content from a reputable source, who seem to have spent the proper amount of time that is needed to create the user experience that readers have come to expect of big budget applications, however it remains to be seen whether the price tag will be a stumbling block.

For those users who do not wish to part with the modest sum of a couple of quid, the mobile web portal of the paper continues to provide adequate access to content, but for the superior experience, the app seems the way to go, further solidifying the viability of the “freemium” model that seems to be sweeping the online content world. (More on Freemium here:

Personally,  in favour of being able to finish reading Charlie Brooker before being plunged into the dark-3G-deadzone of South Clapham, I’ll skip the extra latte.

2ergo PLC are a Client of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, London, for whom I work, however all opinions of this or any other 2ergo App are my own and do not represent the opinions or views of  2ergo PLC, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide or The Ogilvy Group.

2 responses to “The paid content debate: Freemium Contiues

  1. Good review James. I’m now going to buy the App

  2. Pingback: Real-time web provides real-time feedback on The Guardian’s iPhone application « News, Software and All you need

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