NYT Now App Drops Paid Subs

In another strategic shift for its mobile strategy, The New York Times is planning to drop the paid digital subscriptions for its NYT Now mobile app and make it available as a free, ad-supported app, according to a report in Capital New York, citing sources familiar with the plan.

The app will get new functionality while the newspaper’s main paid app also gets a substantial makeover.

NYT Now was launched a year ago as a low-cost alternative to The New York Times mobile app, offering subscribers access to a selection of the most important stories, as well as videos, infographics and slide shows from the newspaper for $8 per month.

Among other goals, it was intended to help the newspaper recruit more digital subscribers in the millennial demo, by offering a low-price alternative to a full digital sub. A sub offering access to the Web site and smartphone apps costs $15 per month.



However, the NYT Now app ended up gathering around 20,000 subscribers, according to Capital New York -- a small fraction of the newspaper’s total 900,000 digital subscribers.

The decision to make NYT Now free is the latest in a series of reversals for the newspaper’s mobile strategy. Another subscription app, NYT Opinion, offered a stand-alone subscription to all NYT’s opinion coverage for $6 per month. Judged unsuccessful, it closed in October of last year.

Last September, the newspaper also launched a new, free NYT Cooking app, offering recipes, tips and how-to guides drawn from its archives. At the other end of the spectrum, the NYT is still offering Times Premier, which costs $45 for every four weeks and offers expanded content offerings, including the “Times Insider,” which provides a behind-the-scenes look at how the newsroom creates content.

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