New York Times Shuts Down App-based News Service

613-9967-02The New York Times has been a leader when it comes to press newspapers embracing mobile, from distributing 1m Google Cardboard viewers to showcasing 360-degree video in masthead ads. However, the company has just announced plans to close down NYT Now, a slimmed-down, mobile friendly app version of its core news services, blaming weak demand for the service.

The app, which was available on iPhone and Android, peaked in May 2015 with 334,000 unique users, but has fallen to an average of around 257,000 for the last three months, prompting the publisher to review whether keeping the app open was worth it.

NYT Now launched in 2014 as a cheaper alternative to the New York Times digital subscription, costing users $8 (£6) a month compared to $15 a month. When this lower rate failed to attract a significant audience, the app switched to a free model last year.

Some of the apps features will be folded into the New York Times main app, such as its morning and evening news briefings. The app will be pulled from the App Store and Google Play Store shortly, with content updates for existing users ending sometime in September.

The closure of the app was announced to staff in a letter that praised the progress that the app had spearheaded, serving as a testing ground for the publishers mobile ambitions and helping The New York Times to establish a voice on smartphones.

“Just over two years ago, The New York Times on mobile was little more than a gray list of headlines,” said the letter. “These days, the main Times mobile app leads with compelling visuals and the enormously popular Morning Briefing. Those innovations can be credited to a single source: NYT Now.

“NYT Now was a milestone for The New York Times, demonstrating that we could fundamentally reimagine how we engage readers in the mobile era. Today, we are announcing that we are retiring NYT Now because we have successfully incorporated so many of its innovations into our main news products.”

Got a piece of work you want to show off to the world? Today is your last chance to enter the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards. Get the full details here – and contact awards@mobilemarketingmagazine.com with any questions.