It’s an ambitious launch. Within it, we can hear many of the digital news buzzwords of the moment: mobile first, curation, paywall, native ads, voice. NYT Now debuts on April 2, side-stepping the foolish superstitions of a day earlier, and about five months after first disclosing its Paywalls 2.0 plans (“The newsonomics of The New York Times’ Paywalls 2.0″).
NYT Now’s timing seems right, and in my first testing of it, it offers reasons to believe it’ll get a lot of usage. But big questions loom as the final preparations for launch are made within the Times. The biggest, of course, is how many current non-subscribers will see enough value to pay. There are also questions about how NYT Now fits with the Times’ other native apps and mobile web experiences.
The positioning of the app shows the resurgent Times’ confidence, bolstered by the “They like us, they really like us!” success of the Times’ three-year-old digital subscription strategy. In fact, NYT Now can be seen in part as an Empire Strikes Back play: It aims to take readership back from Twitter and Facebook. It is an offensive move from a company — and an industry — that has seemed to be playing defense for so long.
The business strategy
The Times’ strategy here is simple: “What would products look like for those willing to pay?” says David Perpich, the general manager of the Times’ New Digital Product Group and business head for NYT Now. The first answer is in, with the success of the full-access product. Now, the niching — Paywalls 2.0 — begins for the Times, and the rest of the news industry, which has followed the Times strongly and quickly into the paywall era.
Exclusive, which I first noted in November, has been priced. It’s the VIP level of Times subscription: $45 for every four weeks, which provides full-digital access to subscribers, in addition to the status benefits. That’s an additional $130 a year (or $10 for each four weeks) on top of the current all-access sub. Home delivery subscribers can also go premium, as of April 2, for the same $10 a week extra.
Source: Nieman Lab