Money to be Made in iPhone Apps? U.K.’s ‘Guardian’ Says Yes

By: Mark Fitzgerald

With its iPhone news app out just a little more than a month, the Guardian looks to gross more than $3 million this year.

The Guardian is one of the few U.K. newspapers to charge for its iPhone app, which it launched Dec. 14. Selling at 2.39 pounds (about $3.99 U.S.), the app has been picked up by nearly 70,000 subscribers. The app was number 26 in Apple’s U.K. App Store chart, the paper said.

That pales in comparison to the most popular no-cost news apps. The Daily Telegraph of London has a free news app with advertising that has been downloaded more than 300,000 and the most popular free news app by Sky News has been downloaded more than 1 million times.

But the Guardian is now grossing some 165,000 pounds, or nearly $270,000 a month on its premium app. The paper must pay a 30% commission to Apple to appear on the iPhone.

“We are thrilled with our download figures for the first month of the app. The feedback we have received from users has been excellent, yet also extremely informative in terms of features and functionality that can be improved in the future,” Emily Bell, the Guardian News & Media’s director of digital content, told the newspaper.

The app was designed by an in-house team and built by 2ergo.

“The impressive number of downloads proves to the industry that users are willing to pay for a news application,” the newspaper said.

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