The New York Times is “shelving” its daily news app, NYT Now, in response to limited interest from readers, a rapidly-fluctuating news environment and a desire to increase paid subscribers.
Launched in early 2014, NYT Now was heralded as an attempt to capture and monetize a rapidly growing audience on smartphones. In the spring of 2015, NYT Now transitioned to a paid model. Now, the app will go dark at the end of the month.
In a note to Times employees, Kinsey Wilson, the executive vice president of product and technology, noted that the app is being shelved because the newsroom has “successfully incorporated so many of its innovations into our main news products.”
Those innovations drew widespread praise from our readers, the industry, and tech and media experts: Expansive photos and animations. Readily scannable text with bullets to emphasize major points. A bespoke feel — only the best stories, with helpful links to stories around the web. An eclectic mix with investigations next to recipes next to Opinion.
Writing for The New York Times, Sydney Ember noted that the app “never quite took off” and attained 334,000 total users at its peak, in May 2015.
In an obituary for the app, media analyst Ken Doctor noted that NYT Now could be cannibalizing the Times’ main subscription business, one of the factors prompting the closure.
In short, the Times fine-tuned its main digital subscription selling machine — and we can expect another simplifying fine-tuning next year — and is getting a good flow of those Millennial-aged subscribers to its main subscription offerings. And those are worth more than two dollars a week per sign-up.
This isn’t the first app The New York Times has shuttered. In 2014, the newspaper closed NYTOpinion, its $6 per month opinion offering.