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Paid posts in the news stream will be the only form of ads on The New York Times' NYT Now app, due to roll out on the App Store on Apr. 2, the company said today.
One of two new subscription products the Times announced today, NYT Now is a cheaper version of the Times that's intended to help restore momentum to circulation revenue growth. For $8 every four weeks, NYT Now subscribers get a selection of stories as well as morning and afternoon briefings curated by Times editors. The cheapest digital-only subscription before NYT Now costs $15 for four weeks.
Cartier has signed on as the initial sponsor of NYT Now. Paid Post units and branded content will also begin appearing on the Times' other mobile apps in the coming months, the Times said.
Paid Posts can include images or text, the Times said, but will link either way to a branded-content page. Cartier's units, for example, will deliver readers to an article page with text and images of its watches.
NYT Now is currently available on the iPhone and iPod Touch only.
The Times introduced native ad units to its homepage in January, with Dell, Intel and Goldman Sachs as the initial sponsors. The company hopes native ads will help turn around its declining digital ad revenue, which Times CEO Mark Thompson has pledged to begin growing again in 2014.
In-stream ads in mobile apps are the latest step in this process. The tactic could also be a more lucrative way of advertising in mobile apps, because many advertisers are cool on tiny, easy-to-avoid mobile banner ads (or hard-to-avoid but annoying screen takeover
Ad revenue at the Times declined 1.3% in the fourth quarter compared to the same period last year, with digital holding essentially flat and print off 1.6%.
The Times' other new subscription product, Times Premier, costs $45 a month, or $10 more than home delivery subscribers currently pay, according to the Times. It gives subscribers a range of perks, including access to Times Talks digital videos, additional crossword puzzles and Times Insider, which provides a behind-the-scenes look at the Times newsroom.
Current subscribers have access to NYT Now, the Times said.