Today marks the launch of NYTNow, an app with Flipboard-like features aimed at a mobile audience. The app is free, but only only allows viewing of 10 stories a month. To get more, you need to add a US$8.00 a month subscription that is available as an in-app purchase.
Content is expected to come from the Times and other partners. with human editors deciding what news is included. The company believes editors can do a better job of delivering the news than computer-based algorithms, although the popularity of Flipboard seems to contradict that supposition. A spokesperson for the company says NYTNow is a "new subscription plan created for an audience seeking more content than is currently available for free but at a lower price than the full news report." The app also features two daily briefings summarizing the news of the day.
NYTNow is iPhone-only, because the Times says most of its mobile customers are on iPhones. I think it has missed an opportunity by not having an iPad app, but perhaps one will become available down the road.
I sampled the app this morning, and it is nicely laid out with a good mix of news. There are both videos and graphics to accompany the stories. The videos started playing quickly and were of good quality.
The New York Times already offers a free iOS app with access to the New York Times website and an in-app subscription for iPhone digital content at $14.99, so the product offerings seem a bit confusing. The more expensive app has everything from the Times, and NYTNow is more limited in what's available on it. NYTNow will also have ads, which may not sit well with people paying for the content.
If anyone can make a go of paid news apps, it's likely the New York Times. It has excellent coverage and columnists. On the other hand, there are so many good and personalized free news apps that I'm not sure if people will flock to NYTNow. I'm pretty hooked on Zite and Flipboard, which have recently joined forces.
NYTNow requires iOS 7. As mentioned, the app is not universal, but that may change.