Newspapers have struggled, as the Internet has risen, to stay relevant. The New York Times is a superb example: They’re one of the most respected newspapers in the world, and yet they constantly need to experiment to stay on top of the heap. Which brings us to their intriguing, but risky, new app, NYTNow.
1. NYTNow Is A “Luxury” Version Of Fark
That’s a bit on the nose, of course, but essentially, that’s how it works. There are a dozen editors on the New York Times staff assigned to NYTNow, and their entire job is to find links of interest, both in the paper’s reporting and on the general Internet, categorize them, and get them in front of your eyeballs.
2. You Can’t Get NYTNow On Android.
In keeping with the idea that NYTNow is for the discerning consumer, it’ll only be available on iOS. The Times claims that this is due to market research and the like, but we suspect there’s a substantial “snob factor” at play as well. After all, part of the NYT brand is their cache and that only the finest of the fine read their newspaper, something that’s apparently transferred to their digital apps. It probably helps that Apple is enormously popular with the kind of reader the NYT wants to attract.
Whether this exclusivity holds, well, we’ll see. Somehow we suspect Android won’t be out of the running for long.
3. NYTNow Is Not Going To Be Cheap.
Currently, when the app launches on April 2nd, you can download it, and stare at the headlines and summaries for free. You can even read, in grand NYT tradition, up to ten articles a month from the app. But anything more than that, and you’ll have to start giving NYTNow some money: The app is currently priced at eight bucks a month for all the articles you can eat, or at least that the editorial staff thinks that you want.
For NYT content, that’s not a bad deal: Currently they want $45 a month for the full paper. But we’ve got to wonder if it’s really worth that much money, especially if they’re charging you to read someone else’s articles. We’d imagine some websites would be unhappy with that particular situation.
4. It May Be A Constant Upsell.
It’s also not clear whether the app will tie into the rest of the Times, or whether you’ll be dealing with constant attempts to get you to subscribe to the full paper. The Times has struggled with advertising and marketing in the past, after all.
5. It May Be Worth It Anyway.
The truth is, even if you’re paying for “Times Lite”, NYTNow is at least within a reasonable price range, unlike it’s staggeringly clueless attempts to get $45 a month out of people who should know better. And it’ll likely be a good way to stay on top of the news if you’re a news junkie.
Just ensure that you’re actually getting your $8 worth. And, hey, NYT staff, you can always syndicate our articles.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.