In an attempt to attract a new reader demographic—young people who don't like paying for news, not even the estimable New York Times—the Times has created a news app catered to a mobile generation.
NYT Now, much like similar news aggregation apps—Inside, Flipboard, etc.—churns out a curated stream of news articles in a form digestible to the phone-obsessed consumer. The app differs from its competition in that the 30-40 news articles a day will be curated and edited by esteemed editors from the Times, who will summarize the day's news into bullet points. It will also offer morning and evening briefings, providing a roundup of the day's news.
The experience is "sleek and ambitious," per BuzzFeed's Charlie Warzel, who got his hands on the app before its release on April 2. But it also costs a whopping $8 a month to use, which is way, way above the average 19 cents an iPhone app usually goes for.
With NYT Now the Times is specifically targeting the mobile news consumer, who is both interested in staying informed via the Times, but too cheap to pay $15 a month for a digital subscription. (Read: young people.) As a professional cheap person, not quite half off for way less than half of the paper sounds like a bad deal. The Times is fighting an uphill battle on this one: Young people, in general, have less disposable income and have grown accustomed to not paying for news. And if you're a young person who values the New York Times experience, you probably already pay for the paper, freeload off of your parents' or roommate's subscription, or have figured out a way beyond the paywall.
The Times executive editor Jill Abramson, however, thinks people will shell out $8 just to experience the magic touch of her editors. "The thing that’s missing on Twitter—and I don't mean for this to sound arrogant or highfalutin—is the New York Times and the editing smarts of the New York Times," Abramson told BuzzFeed. "What makes this product different and well worth the $8 is the New York Times content and editors led by Cliff [Levy]. No one else doing news apps right now has that same level of experience, talent, and editing know-how," she said.
[Image: Flickr user Garry Knight]