October 1, 2014 Last Updated 9:36 am

The New York Times announces round of layoffs, with about 100 newsroom jobs to be cut

The Times also announced that it will also be shutting down its NYT Opinion mobile app, says NYT Now is underperforming

The latest newspaper to announce layoffs is The New York Times which today said that about 100 newsroom jobs would be cut in order to cut costs. Like other newspaper companies that have announced layoffs, the Times said the move would also help it “invest in the digital future of The New York Times” but did not mention any specific new digital initiatives.

NYT-Opinion-iPhone“The job losses are necessary to control our costs and to allow us to continue to invest in the digital future of The New York Times, but we know that they will be painful both for the individuals affected and for their colleagues,” Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Mark Thompson said in a note to employees.

The layoffs represent about 7.5 percent of the newsroom staff, the Times said in its own story on the layoffs.

The NYT also announced that it would be shutting down its NYT Opinion mobile app. The app cost users $5.99 per month and was generally well regarded by reviewers inside iTunes, though a recent app updater brought complaints. But the app was part of an older strategy the NYT was employing of chopping up the Times into smaller chunks in hopes it would attract non-subscribers to pay for some form of digital content. But the app, which was only launched in May of this year, did not get much of a chance to succeed, so one wonders if the paper is looking to use its opinion content in other ways to lure mobile device owners.

“We’ve learned some important editorial and design lessons from it that will be invaluable as we grapple with the continued challenges and opportunities of mobile,” NYT management wrote in a memo to staff. “But, four months after the launch of the app, it hasn’t attracted the kind of new audience it would need to be truly scalable. So we’ve decided to sunset the app, though we will continue to sell access to the Opinion section of the Web site as a separate subscription offer.

Another mobile app that may be on life support is NYT Now, the Times attempt at a news product that provides mobile phone users top stories plus article summaries. The app costs $7.99 per month, but the paper says the app “had not proved as popular as they had hoped.”

“NYT Now is a terrific app and has struck a chord with younger users, many of them entirely new to The Times,” the Times executives said. “However our effort to define and market a lower-priced subscription offer on the web and core apps has proven much less successful.”

Just recently the NYT launched a new app and subdomain, NYT Cooking, which appears to be having more success attracting readers. The Times said the new feature has had more than a million unique visitors since its launch two weeks ago.

“They are all experiments, which we are determined to treat as such: to learn, pivot and, where necessary, make prompt decisions about them,” the Times executives said in their note. “We believe that this process of exploration and experimentation is essential to future growth at The New York Times and we will continue to support and fund it.”

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