June 5, 2014 Last Updated 7:50 am

NYT launches new web subscription option, iPhone app: NYT Opinion

NYT repackages its editorials and opinion columnists, offering the content online and in a new iPhone app at new low monthly price point

The New York Times continues its belated embrace of mobile apps, releasing its second new app in as many months with the release of NYT Opinion. NYT Opinion will also become a new subscription option for web readers.

Unlike its NYT Now app, which is a curated collection of all the news and features, NYT Opinion is limited to editorials, columns and other opinion pieces curated by its editors – priced at $5.99 per month, with the first month free (NYT Now costs $7.99).

“NYT Opinion offers our readers what we think are the most stimulating and interesting points of view you can find anywhere,” Andrew Rosenthal, Editorial Page Editor, told readers yesterday. “The 24/7 nature of online debate, on the web and across social media, has allowed for more vibrant discussion of the opinions we publish — and your own. We are excited to expand our role in it.”

While there is not much new in the approach, and the app itself is what one would expect, it is a move in the right direction. The launch is a partial answer to the paper’s critics, including this one, that the paper was not been aggressive in creating new mobile applications that could attract new readers who do not feel they need to pay for the entire NYT package, but would consider buying specific content.

The NYT, while often among the first to launch apps first for the iPhone, then the iPad, has not followed up their efforts by becoming enthusiastic developers, releasing only a handful of new apps over the past six years. Even if the app does not prove popular, the experiment will be worth it, if only to see what content readers are willing to pay for.

The next logical step would be use the concept for new content, not seen in print or on the paper’s website, and for new projects that would retain talent, rather than seeing valued journalists move on to digital-only start-ups.

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