Times touts young demo for NYT Now, though numbers disappointed

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NYTNow. (New York Times website)
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The New York Times has not broken out the subscriber total for its NYT Now app, which was presumably lower than what company brass had hoped for.

But amid a total number of new digital sign-ups that seemed unimpressive to some media watchers, the Times is touting the appeal of NYT Now among younger readers.

NYT Now, which charges $8 a month for a curated selection of Times content on phones and web browsers, is "reaching a much younger audience than we've ever reached before with any of our digital products," digital chief Denise Warren said on a conference call with Wall Street analysts following the Times Company's second quarter earnings report this morning.

Chief executive Mark Thompson also plugged the app's younger audience several times during the call.

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NYT Now is the linchpin of a strategy to scale reader revenue at the Times, which has been hit hard by the industry-wide decline in print advertising revenues. The idea is to drive up the Times' digital subscriber base from the core pool of readers who signed up to read the Times on web browsers and mobile devices in the three years since a metered digital pay model was introduced.

The other niche subscription options launched recently as part of this push are NYT Opinion and NYT Premier.

During the second quarter, the Times signed up 32,000 additional subscribers between all three of these products and the standard all-access digital plans combined. The core signups were "lower than we should be satisfied with," said Thompson.

But Thompson said "the good news" is that NYT Now is "reaching a potentially new audience" in younger readers.

He said the company would be working on better marketing for the apps, another of which, focused on cooking, is scheduled to launch in the fall.

The cooking app will initially be offered for free in order to build up a user base before the Times starts charging for it.