The New York Times has announced that its NYT Now app is to be withdrawn as of 29th August. The app, which provided a curated selection of stories from the paper aimed at younger readers, was launched at South by Southwest back in 2014.
Making money from news is hard these days, and the NYT had initially hoped that it would be able to win paying subscribers by offering them a half-price deal.
NYT Now was among the first attempts by The Times to enhance its appeal to mobile users as it looked for new revenue sources that would offset drops in print advertising and circulation. By giving readers a curated subset of daily articles in a mobile-friendly, lower-priced package, The Times hoped to attract a broader audience that might otherwise not subscribe. The subscription price for NYT Now, $8 a month, was roughly half the price of the least expensive digital subscription.
When this failed, the paper made the app free, hoping that some of those exposed to its coverage would then pony up the cash for one of its paid subscriptions, but it seems that didn’t work either. The paper is now relying on exposure on third-party platforms like Facebook and Twitter as a way of pitching itself to potential new readers.
The NYT says that some of the features from the app – like morning and evening briefings – have been incorporated into its main paid app.