3 On Your Side

You have 'freemium' services and may not know it

Posted: Updated:
Freemium apps are initially free but then users have to pay for updates or items inside the app. (Source: 3TV) Freemium apps are initially free but then users have to pay for updates or items inside the app. (Source: 3TV)
“With freemium, you can spend upwards of $50 to $60 in little increments getting these upgrades time after time," Roger Cheng with CNET said. (Source: 3TV) “With freemium, you can spend upwards of $50 to $60 in little increments getting these upgrades time after time," Roger Cheng with CNET said. (Source: 3TV)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

We have a riddle for you: “What is not free and not premium?” One more clue: You are probably already using at least one of these services on your digital devices.

You give up? We’re talking about services many have dubbed: “freemiums.”

Janna Atcheson and Ash Elghamry’s electronics are loaded with them.

“We use a lot of different varieties of freemium models, applications and services,” Atcheson said.

So what are freemiums? Roger Cheng is a technology expert at CNET.

“Freemium is a business model that essentially is any kind of program or game or service that is offered for free with the hope that you’ll pay extra to unlock new features and new services,” Cheng said.

Atcheson and Elghamry use LinkedIn for networking, Dropbox for computer storage and recently paid for premium Spotify for music.  

“I do think it’s good for consumers to be able to sample the product or the application before they end up paying for it,” Elghamry said.

There are news and game apps, too.

Cheng said, expect to see a lot more freemium-based services.

“The growth of freemium is explosive,” Cheng said.

There is one possible pitfall, according to Cheng. Some digital games offer the option to pay for bonus levels and characters so if you get hooked, it could put a dent in your wallet.

“With freemium, you can spend upwards of $50 to $60 in little increments getting these upgrades time after time. So, if you’re really, if you’re one of those people who gets into a game, the freemium model can kind of suck you down this rabbit hole where you are spending more money than you’d like,” Cheng warns.

Atcheson says the premium services they paid for are worth it.

“It makes a big difference in what you can access, and it makes a big difference in the quality of experience you get,” Atcheson said.

Some experts think the freemium model is more successful than offering 30-day trial periods to try out a product.  

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


  • Social Connect

  • Contact

    AZ Family

Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Hide bio

Contact 3 On Your Side