We’ve always been fans of The New York Times’ NYT Now app. However, we seem to be in the minority on that. With its year anniversary approaching, the future of NYT Now is looking more ambiguous. In fact, it seems like it’s on the verge of getting folded into the main Times app.
Recently, Times CEO Mark Thompson admitted that NYT Now’s subscription numbers are low. This is something FishbowlNY foresaw when we first reviewed the app — it provides a few articles and asks people to pay $7.99 a month for access. We love NYT Now because we’re already Times subscribers and therefore get it for free. We thought asking casual readers to pay for limited content could be an issue.
In an interview with Ad Age, NYT Now’s editor Cliff Levy again admitted that subscriptions have disappointed and said big changes were coming.
“We’re actively working on NYT Now 2.0, and we’re starting to figure out what the business model is,” said Levy. Then, when discussing details of NYT Now’s staff, Levy seemed to indicate that the app might be swallowed by the main Times app.
“What we’ve learned from NYT Now is helping us advance the main New York Times app, which is getting a lot more editorial staff shortly,” explained Levy. “So stay tuned — there are going to be some major amazing improvements on the main New York Times app.”
We might be reading too much into that, but it sure seems like NYT Now is on its last legs. If its best feature — Our Picks, which is a feed of curated articles from other outlets — gets folded into the main app, then so be it.
However, we do have one request for Apple: Let the Times remove it from the horrible Newsstand app. Please. It’s useless and unintuitive. Grant the Times app — however it ends up looking — freedom.
Update (10:59 am):
Levy tweeted that our guess is “Totally wrong” and the app “is going strong, and version 2.0 will be even better.” Good news!