The New York Times has announced that its curated news app, NYT Now [Direct Link], will officially shut down and no longer be available to download from the week of August 29. The app was originally announced in early 2014 as a way to provide readers with a cheaper alternative to the digital subscription service offered by the company, coming in at $8 per month, "roughly half the price of the least expensive digital subscription."
NYT Now was said to be an attempt by the New York Times to offset dips in revenue from its traditional printed newspaper circulation. The goal was to present a less expensive subscription model, with news focused and curated for each specific user, and attract people who might not otherwise subscribe due to the ease-of-access inherent in mobile apps. Unfortunately, "the app never quite took off," and NYT Now transitioned to a freemium model last year in an attempt to expand its audience.
Kinsey Wilson, the executive vice president for product and technology, said the decision to do away with NYT Now was driven in part by a shift in how the company thinks about broadening its audience. The Times, with the help of its audience development team, now looks more to third-party platforms like Facebook and Twitter to expand its reach among younger readers.
“That gave us a different ability to tap into younger audiences and to provide exposure to a much, much wider audience,” Mr. Wilson said.
The app was said to have peaked in May 2015 with 334,000 total unique users in one month but, in the last three months, it only managed to acquire 257,000 total unique users. Many of NYT Now's features will be folded into the company's main mobile app, NYTimes [Direct Link], "including morning and evening news briefings, bullet-point lists and a more conversational tone."
The editors of NYT Now have written a brief note about the app's shuttering, including the specific locations users can find its various features in other apps. For readers who keep the NYT Now app on their iOS or Android device, it will officially cease being updated in September.
Apps like Apple News, which offer users a wide breadth of news stories from an expansive list of various publishers, are also likely to contribute to a slight loss of subscribers for single-publisher apps. Apple News is even getting a feature in iOS 10 that will support paid subscription models from sites like The Wall Street Journal, curating premium content right alongside free stories from other publishers.