This morning I got my monthly invoice from the New York Times for $39.60, which offers me full digital access as well as the Sunday Times delivered to my house.
I only get the Sunday Times delivered because it was (initially) cheaper than just all digital. Since then, I’ve grown to enjoy the physical magazine inside the Sunday edition of the paper.
However, my primary consumption of the Times is through the NYT Now app, which they’ve just made free.
I wonder, is it really worth me keeping my subscription when 90% of the Times articles I read are from what is now a free app? Likely not.
Unless, of course, they cheapen the app content.
They recently started putting other sites’ content in the NYT Now app, which I don’t love but I don’t mind either. I have other good curation sources, so sometimes it’s unnecessary, but they are pretty strict curators so I usually enjoy the articles whether from the Times or not.
Starting this morning, the app showcases a big sponsor link, so I guess that’s how they plan to monetize it. Furthermore, I presume they anticipate they can get folks addicted enough to want full access — and of that goal, I am quite skeptical.
I rarely have time to read enough to need more than what NYT Now offers, which is a limited selection of, “the best of the Times.” Its biggest downside is that it doesn’t have categorized sections like the primary app, but for free — versus $40 a month — that’s a limited downside.
I know they have struggled getting adoption of the app. But as others have noted, those that use NYT Now tend to have very positive reviews. I am one of those positive reviews. I much prefer the NYT Now app experience over the primary app. But I’m not sure I can justify my subscription any more now that the app I use most is free.
I have little doubt that the New York Times publishes as much high quality journalism as anyone else. But I feel like they are risking losing young, energetic, and (importantly) paying subscribers by making the NYT Now app free. Is it worth it to get more people reading, if none of them are motivated to pay?