Guardian’s iPhone App sells 9,000 in two days

Some welcome news for The Guardian. Its Apple iPhone app is a hit and has racked up 9,000 downloads in the first two days it has been available in the Apple App store.

Guardian News & Media might be wishing it had pushed the boat out a little more and upped the price. The £2.39 for the app seems like a steal and has propelled it to the number one slot in the UK Apple App chart (paid).

So far the figures work out at £21, 510 minus the 30% that goes to Apple givivng GN&M a grand total of £15,057, according to PaidContent.

That isn’t going to make the company rich (it had losses of more than £35m in 2008/09), but it points the way to a future that could include a number of nicely profitable paid content developments.

When it launched the app, GN&M did not rule out charging users more in the future for “extra functionality’. Those future developments could include video, which the Guardian app does not currently have.

The success is also going to make other publishers sit up and take notice. The Telegraph Media Group and Sky News among others both have launched free

apps although Sky was reported earlier this year to be working on a paid for version of its app.

As well as being the number one paid for App in the UK charts the Guardian is also the number one in the UK news chart above Sky, the Telegraph and the FT. The New York Times leads the US chart.

The success of the Guardian iPhone app comes after GN&M said last week that it was giving up on its efforts to make money out of podcasting and said it saw no immediate advertising model.

It will be interesting to see how well it sells in the US and if that points the way to further charging initiatives.


  • Mike Nicholson

    Just for the record, the Sky app is the number one FREE app and the Telegraph app is the number two FREE app.

    The Guardian app is the number one PAID app only.

  • Mike Nicholson

    Also, it is worth noting that the Telegraph FREE app has already achieved well over 300,000 downloads.

  • Gordon Macmillan

    That’s impressive. What would they have got if they charged?

  • Mike Nicholson

    Difficult to predict, but it would have obvioulsy been far less than 300,000.

  • Brad Jordan

    I guess the question is then, is this the death of the paper version??

    The thing that is holding back adoption of reading digital devices such as Kindles, eBooks, and iPhone apps is the user interface. For the reproduction of both books and newspapers on electronic devices, the key for designers is to not re-create the same interface that the reader has with paper. That is impossible. Paper feels too good. It’s too tactile, too romantic. Instead the only way to beat paper is to make the interface more fun, more interactive. Readers need to prefer digital to paper. Environmental concerns simply won’t cut it here.

    The Guardian team has done an amazing job on this app. It’s no doubt the BEST news app available for the iPhone. It’s slick, and looks like Apple has designed it in-house. With a smooth interface, I found myself flipping through stories faster than a Japanese origami master could ever manage with the paper version.

    So the question I’m now asking myself is… Do I ever need to buy the paper version again?

    I wrote a full blog post on this at . Is it time to write the nationals’ print editions obituaries?

  • Mike Nicholson


    In 1994, the Telegraph launched the first ever newspaper website in the UK (Electronic Telegraph), shortly followed by the Guardian. Ever since then people have been trying to write the obits of national press because of the logic that if it is available free online then there is no reason for people to pay for it offline. The simple truth is though that the online and mobile products largely appeal to different people, and the magic of paper rules supreme for some people as you mentioned in your post.

    Newspaper readership is on a slow and steady decline, there is no getting away from that, but it won’t suddenly be accelerated to its grizzly conclusion because a few people download a Guardian app, however slick it may be.

    Different people enjoy consuming different media in different ways and at different times.

    Radio didn’t kill press. TV didn’t kill radio. Online and mobile won’t kill newspapers either or at least not in the next 30 years anyway. I did however hear that video killed the radio star, but I have never found any proof of this! ;o)