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New York Times doubles down on mobile with dedicated editors, native ads

In a reflection of how mobile is transforming news gathering, consumption and monetization, The New York Times will soon launch its first mobile product with its own dedicated editorial staff and bring native ads to mobile for the first time.

NYT Now, which will offer a curated selection of news items from as well as across the Internet, will be available starting April 2 as a standalone subscription for the iPhone application and on the Web at a cost of $8 every four weeks. Cartier will be initial sponsor, with paid posts clearly identified as advertising content appearing in-stream in the scrollable news feed.

?The benefit of NYT Now is that you can scroll the top news that you need to know at that moment,? said Linda Zebian, director of corporate communications at The New York Times, New York. ?You get the summaries; the Morning Briefing, the Evening Briefing and the Daily Tip Sheet allow you to get caught up quickly.

?The major difference is that these stories are hand-selected by our NYT Now editors,? she said. ?It is basically what our editors think you need to know, what are the most important stories of the moment and they will push them to NYT Now and they will summarize them for you for quick access on the go.?

Curated content
NYT Now is new subscription product targeted at an audience seeking more content than is currently available for free but at a lower price than the full news report with the goal of helping the news organization grow digital subscriptions.

NYT Now is a significant change in how the publication gathers and disseminates news as it is the first mobile product with its own editorial staff tasked with curating online content to provide a selection of the most important stories. It is also The New York Times? first standalone news product beyond its core news app.

The content that will be available in the app will be geared towards helping readers quickly catch up on the most important stories at a given moment. The editors will hand-select articles, videos, infographics and slideshows from and will tailor headlines and summaries for mobile readers.

The content will be displayed in continuously updated news stream. Users will be able to tap on the summaries for full access to complete stories.

Native ads
The launch of NYT Now will also mark the official debut of native ads, called Paid Posts, on mobile devices. Advertising on NYT Now will consist exclusively of Paid Posts, with users able to click through on in-line ads for full access to sponsored content.

Paid Post units and branded content will begin appearing on NYT Now on April 2 and on the core New York Times news app for iPhone and iPod touch and mobile Web in the coming months.

Paid Posts will become available on some of the news organization?s other smartphone and tablet apps later this year.

The New York Times has been tinkering with its digital subscription strategy for some time as the consumption of online news content continues to grow.

Almost a year ago, The New York Times outlined a plan to expand its digital product portfolio with the goal of growing digital revenues. NYT Now is an important step in this process.

Digital subscriptions
Also on April 2, the news organization is introducing Times Premier, a new subscription plan designed for the biggest consumers of the publication?s content. For $45 every four weeks or $10 extra every four weeks for home delivery subscribers, readers will have behind-the-scenes access and exclusive benefits on top of what is offered with the All Digital Access subscription.

The standalone NYT Now subscription includes unlimited access to the new NYT Now App for iPhone and iPod touch, which will also be offered to all existing digital and home delivery subscribers as a free supplemental benefit.

The app will be edited by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Cliff Levy and a staff of more than 10 editors. Features will include a ?Morning Briefing? and an ?Evening Briefing,? daily tip sheets for news in key subject categories such as world, national, business and culture.

Content will also be delivered based on the time of day to cater to readers? needs.

NYT Now subscribers will also have unlimited access to all NYT Now stories on

Additionally, returning readers will be able to see what has changed with developing stories, as well as what new stories have been added since their last session. Users can also save articles to read later and share them via social media.

Non-subscribers will be able to download the app to read headlines, articles summaries and up to 10 free articles each month.

?It all kinds of comes down to the fact that almost half of our traffic comes from mobile devices, either via apps or the mobile Web site,? Ms. Zebian said.

?I think it makes sense to tailor the experience to our mobile readers and to reach them,? she said. ?It is our general strategy to be where our readers are and if they are on mobile, we want to be able to give them the best possible access and experience to our journalism.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York