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As the media world is trying to feel its way through the digital space, there are a lot of ideas and experiments that aren't going to work. Tech giants as big as Google realize this fact. And now The New York Times is catching onto the idea of iteration.
This weekend, Times writer Ben Zimmer the magazine's On Language column on the word iterate. And now the company has announced a new iterative approach to digital: Beta620.
An iPad news reader app designed by two college students has taken more than a few breaths away. Developed as part of a class at Stanford University’s Institute of Design, Pulse is everything you'd want out of an iPad news reader: it has both form and function.
The user experience is obviously a big reason why the app, which sells for $3.99, quickly became the top-selling iPad app in the App Store. And it's a big reason why Steve Jobs, who was reportedly disappointed with the New York Times' own iPad app, personally highlighted Pulse this week.
With the future of paid content online anyone's guess, the publishing world eagerly anticipates news on The New York Times' paywall. Announced in January, we still have months to go before the paper unveils its official metered model. But executives have been giving hints. And today, Times chairman Arthur Suzlberger let the audience at CM Summit know that his newspaper is not above following the business model of low grade drug dealers: give people a few hits and then get them to pay.
However, it sounds like The Times is smartly going to follow an age old newspaper trick as well: let a few people get access for free.
The New York Times announced plans to instate a pay wall almost a full year before it will go live, and so far it's been anyone's guess as to what their new digital business model will look like. But according to comments from Bill Keller this week, it may look like something pretty familliar: The Wall Street Journal.
A number of prominent newspapers, including the New York Times, have publicly committed to setting up pay walls as they struggle to find new sources of revenue.
But according to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism "State of the News Media 2010" report, newspapers planning to erect pay walls could be in for a rude awakening.
I had to breathe deeply and compose myself for several minutes before I picked up the receiver and made The Call, but finally summoned the fortitude. Today, after four decades of near-uninterrupted service, I cancelled delivery of The New York Times. The Internet's partially to blame, but digital is only part of the reason I fired the Grey Lady.
It didn't take much consideration to drop my landline. Cable I thought about a tad longer before cutting the cord (all those years in the TV business doubtless had something to do with hanging on). Fewer bills, reduced customer service hassles, and besides, neither my telco nor MSO delivered anything I wanted but couldn't access digitally anyway.
As most newspapers cut back on their budgets and staff, Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal is expanding — launching a new New York section to rival The New York Times' coverage (and steal some of its rival publication's advertising).
Today, Murdoch outlined his logic in growing the paper while other papers shutter their local bureaus. Speaking at the Real Estate Board of New York meeting, he put it simply:
"Technology is putting a premium on content."
Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal is making a major play for local this year. The newspaper has hired a large, capable staff (disclosure: many are my former colleagues from The New York Sun) to create a New York focused arts and culture section. The section won't debut until the Spring, but when it does, chances are, it could take a large chunk of The New York Times' advertisers with it.
Why? Because luxury advertisers are often based in New York or targeting its residents and they are more likely to reallocate their ad budgets than increase them in the coming year.
At a time when hyperlocal news is taking off, many newspapers are struggling to fund the reporting necessary to keep popular but costly local news bureaus active. But The New York Times is taking a new approach. They're tapping into the potential talent pool at New York University's Arthur L Carter Journalism Institute to launch a new East Village focused news blog.
The effort will help the Times expand its local coverage and help journalism students get important experience (and a few bylines). Not a bad deal. And are there any reasons why the Times should pay journalists when it can get students to do their work for free?
The New York Times drew a line in the sand earlier this year by announcing its decision to start charging for access to its website. But it will be a year until the plan comes to fruition and New York Times brass have been tight lipped on the details. Part of the reason for that is simply because they haven't decided what they will be charging for and when.
Today at paidContent 2010, three of The Times' top execs elucidated on where they're heading with the metered model. And while they're interested in remaining an influential, widely read newspaper, if the revenues move in a certain direction, The New York Times could be a niche newspaper in the near future.
Times are tough for the traditional news organizations. Their business models battered, many question the future viability of the investigative journalism these organizations have historically funded.
Some suggest that nimble internet-based upstarts, possibly staffed with citizen journalists and volunteers, are the future. With lower overhead, these new media upstarts may be able to step in and fill the void. Or so the thinking goes.
Much digital ink has been spilled this week over The New York Times' decision to install a metered payment system on its website. But all of the hypothesizing about the fate of the paper and its advertising revenues leaves one question unanswered.
The paper won't implement the new system until 2011. Will the paper's talent stick til then around to see their audience shrink?