CNN Bucks the iPhone Free News App Trend by Charging $1.99 – Gets Slapped with 12+ Rating for Nudity, Drugs & Violence

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Screenshot courtesy of CNN

It is sometimes hard to tell the difference between foolhardiness and marketing genius. I still haven’t decided which category to place CNN in with their decision to charge $1.99 for…

CNN Mobile 1.0 (iTunes App Store)

…for the iPhone. After all, everyone else (MSNBC, ABC, Reuters, etc.) are giving away their news apps. It doesn’t even seem to have a push feature for breaking news like the AP News app does. Its one differentiation point is the ability for your to contribute to CNN iReport. This seems a bit backwards to me (paying for the privilege of contributing news).

I also found it odd that CNN’s news app received a 12+ rating with the following warnings:

– Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content or Nudity
– Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco or Drug Use or References
– Infrequent/Mild Realistic Violence
– Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes

Um, this is the “news”, right? Strange. MSNBC and Reuters apps do not have any warnings associated with them. ABC News (owned by Walt Disney) has three of the four warnings CNN received. ABC’s app does not include a warning for “Sexual Content or Nudity” (it is a Disney company, I guess 🙂

Will CNN create an iPhone app paradigm shift by charging $1.99 for its apparently risque content? I suspect not. My guess is people will continue to view their nicely designed free website and continue to use the various free iPhone news apps already available.