The Boston Globe, apparently not satisfied with the appeal of its responsively-designed website, has launched a native iPhone app. (Why is this a big deal? Read our short explanation about the difference between native and Web-based apps.)It’s odd that a subscription site that invested so heavily in responsive design, especially since Apple will take 30% of sales made through its app store, while the responsive site will require The Globe to keep all of its sales revenue.But what’s even more strange is the pricing structure. The Globe’s new app is priced at $3.99 a month, or $47.88 a year. That’s a steep discount from the website subscription, which is $207/year for digital-only access (which includes mobile access) to $727/year for a seven-day print plus digital subscription.And that easy entry price might be the reason The Globe is launching the app. As our 2013 Online Subscription Benchmark Report shows, The Globe’s annual subscription price is well above the mean and median amounts for news sites.
And in fact, The Globe’s parent company, The New York Times, has far lower price points: $15/month for smartphone and website access, and $35/month for all digital access. In addition, seven-day print delivery plus digital access is only $330 a year.
Previously, I concluded that The Boston Globe may be on the chopping block because of it’s confusing two-site solution. But this recent analysis of pricing in comparison to industry benchmarks leads me to conclude that both a hard paywall and steep price is hurting The Globe’s acquisition rate.