UK magazine The Spectator has made a number of new announcements relating to its digital offering, including a new iOS app and a pretty extensive online archive which is due to launch in the spring.

The Spectator is a weekly magazine with a conservative leaning, and it’s one of the oldest continually-published magazines in the English-speaking world, having first gone to print on 6 July, 1828. It is currently owned by David and Frederick Barclay, who also own another prominent conservative title, The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Whilst the Spectator has had subscription-based apps for iPad and iPhone for a while, the new app will pull together blog posts alongside the magazine content for the first time, which is indicative of the popularity of Coffee House and its myriad of other blogs.

Spectator1 UK mag the Spectator announces a 190 year online archive, and refreshes its iOS appBut the big news is that The Spectator is also launching a new online archive later this spring, containing every article from the magazine’s history…that’s almost two hundred years.

“We trashed Dickens and concluded that Nineteen Eighty-Four ‘as a novel…must be classed a failure’,” said the magazine in an announcement today. “We backed the north, against the slave-owning south, in the American civil war. We called for the decriminalisation of homosexuality a decade before it was enacted, and alone backed Thatcher on the first ballot.”

It should make for interesting reading for sure. The archive will follow a freemium model, whereby users can browse a specific number of articles for free before being asked to register (and pay) to access more.

The Spectator has reported fairly strong sales of its digital editions since it first launched in 2009. In fact, its digital sales are now outnumbering its print editions, as you can see here, and it seems that this has also been responsible for a small resurgence in overall sales over the past couple of years:

3 fullsize UK mag the Spectator announces a 190 year online archive, and refreshes its iOS app“A new generation of readers are discovering The Spectator, and there have never been more ways to read us,” says Fraser Nelson, Editor of The Spectator. “One in ten subscribers never pick up the magazine, taking us on Kindle or the iPad. Our new app offers Coffee House and our other blogs, plus the full magazine content. And the new archive is a healthy reminder that, however many bad things we do now, we’ve probably done worse in the past.”

The Spectator App [iTunes]