Greenwich Council’s iPhone app costing £10 per download

A bit of unfinished business from the end of last year – I finally managed to get hold of some stats for Greenwich Council’s iPhone application, Destination Greenwich, whose cost I revealed here back in November.

According to figures given to Greenwich Council’s cabinet meeting last month, it had been downloaded 563 times. With the app costing £5,700 to develop – most of the cash going to a software developer in Belarus – that’s about £10 per download.

The council – which will have to make £62m of cuts over the next four years – says…

Since the app was launched it has been downloaded 563 times. This includes downloads in our main tourist markets of the USA (6.2%), mainlaind Europe (7%), Canada and Australia (about 1% each). All other downloads were in the UK. It has been rated 4 out of 5 by people who have downloaded it.

The app has been moved into a new category to pick up on the travel and tourism market and enable it to reach more people. We launched the app on the iPhone as that is the most popular smart phone on the market. We have discussed extending its availability to other smartphones and would do so, should a budget for this be available or a sponsor found.

The app had originally been languishing in the “sports” category on Apple’s iPhone app store, but seems to have been moved because it’s actually got very little to do with sport, despite the Olympics tie-in. That said, if you follow the advice on the council’s website to search for “Destination Greenwich”, you won’t get anywhere – just hunt for “Greenwich”.

So, value for money? 563 downloads (to mid-December) is more than I expected, but we’re still subsidising each download at a socking £10 a time. And if it’s largely aimed at the tourist market, then surely downloads from the US and mainland Europe should form a greater proportion of happy customers? As more people download it, that cost will decrease – but where’s the app being promoted other than in Greenwich Time and on the council website?

And, again, what is this for? Is this for tourists, or locals, or both? It remains a mess.

Despite an updated version of the app being recently released, it still looks cheaply done, and if the app represents the whole borough, then its map of “treasures” should represent the whole borough, and not just Greenwich with a token Woolwich entry. Still, praise be, they’ve sorted out the “what’s on” bit – which in November was only plugging salsa classes…

…although there’s a few broken links in there, so fun-seekers beware. While I’m not expecting the New Eltham social club that’s playing host to a cajun music night to get into the “Greenwich treasures” map, it’s baffling the only way Eltham Palace features on the app is via a plug for an art deco guided tour.

Now we’ve our own digital hub around Ravensbourne, perhaps students could be asked to refine and improve Destination Greenwich for the future? It’d be a lot more useful than hawking the work out to Belarus – and might even make it worth some of the cash we’re chucking away on this.

(Sharp-eyed readers may have spotted may have spotted an earlier version of this post where I’d got my sums wrong – thanks to those that pointed out I was being unduly generous to Greenwich Council…)

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