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Relaunched Guardian mobile site may have led to dip in paying iPhone app subscribers

By Gavriel Hollander

The launch of a new free smartphone-friendly version of The Guardian's website may have led to a drop-off in paid-for subscribers to the paper's iPhone app.

The app, which costs £3.99 for six months, attracted just over 57,000 users in the year to March, down from 82,000 a year earlier.

In November, The Guardian rolled out a new mobile version of the site using responsive design to optimise the reading experience on all mobile devices.

The paper’s iPad app, which costs £11.99 a month, rose from 17,000 to a shade under 23,000, for the year to the end of March – meaning the overall number of digital app subscribers still fell by around 19,000 year on year.

The figures were revealed by Guardian News & Media last week as it released details of its improved financial performance.

GNM declined to offer an explanation for the sharp drop in numbers for its app, which came as mobile traffic to its website hit a record high of 22.8 million unique users in May.

A GNM spokesperson said: "We're looking closely at decreases in subscriptions, but we've seen strong overall growth in our content being accessed on mobile devices in recent months. 

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"We've seen fantastic results on mobile since we re-launched our mobile site last November with a new, responsive design.

“We've always been happy with the performance of our iPhone app and the app's users are among our most engaged. However, we are constantly reviewing our mobile and tablet apps to ensure that we’re providing the best possible experience for our users across all our products and platforms, including our iPhone app.”

The Guardian’s iPhone app has received an average rating of two-and-a-half stars out of five on iTunes, with users posting mixed reviews.

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