The New York Times officially announced Wednesday the addition of two new subscription products at the high and low end of the affordability spectrum. Times Premier, at $45 per four weeks, will offer full digital access plus bonus material like the Times Insider and additional crossword puzzles. NYT Now, a smartphone app that costs $8 for four weeks, will provide access to a selection of New York Times articles as well as content curated from outside sources.
“Generally speaking, you’re going to get a smaller collection of articles on NYT Now than you get on our core news app, or on the homepage,” said Clifford Levy, the NYT Now editor. “You might get anywhere from 30 to 50 New York Times articles on NYT Now, over a 24-hour period,” though there are no strict quotas on how much content will be offered. Although NYT Now will offer bulletpoint snapshots of the day’s biggest stories, the full New York Times articles will be available—and subscribers can read the selected NYT Now articles both via the app and on the New York Times’ website.
“You get a smaller collection of articles but there’s no abbreviated articles,” Levy said. “The orthodox New York Times content that is being produced by our great reporters and great editors is not being touched. It’s being presented in a way that is special for a mobile audience.”
As for the type of content NYT Now will offer, Levy said it will focus primarily on hard, timely news. "NYT Now will deliver breaking news, up-to-date analysis in a very timely way,” Levy said. NYT Now, which has a staff of about 20, will run 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Both Levy and Denise Warren, who oversees the Times’ digital products, are confident NYT Now does not threaten to cannibalize the Times' current digital subscribers who pay at least $15 for four weeks of New York Times access.
“One of the things that we uncovered during our research phase was that for our core subscribers, what they really value is completeness, is the entire New York Times news report,” Warren said. “They are not really willing to trade off for a product that won’t have everything.” And since every core subscriber will also have access to NYT Now, “we’re not really giving them a reason to trade down.”
From the sound of things, the New York Times is not necessarily looking to break into a new market. Warren explained that she expects a typical NYT Now subscriber to be someone who already visits the New York Times’ website – which offers 10 free articles a month – but is unwilling to reach for their wallet once they hit the pay wall.
“Really what we’re going after is somewhat of the more price-sensitive user,” Warren said. “Someone who’s looking for an option between the free option … and the fully extensive New York Times.”
Explaining that the New York Times’ digital audience is already “slightly less affluent” than its print audience, Warren said she expected the NYT Now audience might also be slightly less affluent than the core digital subscriber.
“It is potentially going to be a slightly younger audience for the New York Times,” Warren said.
Asked if NYT Now was focusing more on hard news than cultural coverage because this younger audience (or at least the portion of this audience that lives in New York City) has become fatigued with the notorious New York Times trend pieces, Warren said that she couldn’t respond to that question.
“I have no clue what you are talking about in terms of the younger audiences getting tired of the trend pieces,” she said. “I haven’t heard of what you are talking about at all.”