The New York Times Launching Subscription News App For iPhone Next Week


Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 2.43.17 PM

Macworld 2014 SAN FRANCISCO — The New York Times is launching a new iPhone app on April 2nd in the App Store. Called NYT Now, the app will aggregate news from the Times as well as other publications. All stories will be handpicked by a 10-person team of Times editors and complied in daily reports.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because the Yahoo News Digest app is based around the same model. The difference with NYT Now is that it’s a paid service with the full backing of one of the most influential papers in the world.

Unlike most news aggregators that rely on computer algorithms to surface content, everything in NYT Now will be curated by an editorial staff. There will be morning and afternoon collections of stories, and the Times tells me you’ll know what you’ve missed when you come back to the app throughout the day.

Links from other sources take the user to the web, while stories from the Times are formatted inside the app

The design of the app is pretty clean with plenty of whitespace, and the bar at the top cycles between news from the Times and picks from around the web. Links from other sources take the user to the web, while stories from the Times are formatted inside the app.

NYT Now is an experiment with different ways of delivering content on mobile. Although it costs money, there will still be banner ads and sponsored content.

A subscription will cost $8 every four weeks and be 50% off for the first 26 weeks. Existing Times subscribers can use the app at no additional cost. Since it’s treated like a subscription to the Times, articles will also be viewable on the web from a desktop computer. The Times normally limits unpaid readers to 10 articles per month on the web.

It’s hard to sell news subscriptions these days. By prioritizing on quick, digestible stories curated in a mobile experience, the Times is hoping to lure in new customers. Whether the approach will work remains to be seen.

The Times researched its reader base and determined that most of its paying customers use iOS, according to Megan Considine, the managing director of consumer marketing/digital products at the Times. NYT Now is iPhone-only at launch, with the possibility of coming to more platforms, like Android, down the road. “The majority of our readers are on iPhone, so we felt this was a good place to start,” she said.