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Leaked New York Times Digital Strategy Report

     

goodroi

11:44 am on May 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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A surprisingly honest and insightful report about the challenges and missteps of the New York Times as they struggle to transition and remain popular in the fast changing online world.

The summary has many good insights but the 91 page report is worth reading entirely.

[niemanlab.org...]

martinibuster

12:31 pm on May 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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See page 39 of the PDF (43 of the actual document), the quote below is the article's synopsis:

Overall, less than 10 percent of Times traffic comes from social, compared to 60 percent at BuzzFeed.


Should the NYTimes traffic patterns be compared with those of BuzzFeed? BuzzFeed is the media version of a donut. BF's traffic patterns are what they are because their content is of the moment (the opposite of evergreen) and useless (it has no use, no utility, it exists solely to siphon off your time to increase pageviews). Consequently there is no search traffic for topics such as:

The 10 Most Mystifying Lines From Chipotle’s New Marketing Campaign


Do a Google search for BuzzFeed and Google returns a two-pack, both of the results leading to BF Quizzes. Do a search for NYTimes and Google returns a proper six pack. The content is different so the search and social traffic patterns are naturally going to differ.

That out of the way, the NYTimes should make content sharing a priority, but comparing itself to BuzzFeed is unrealistic and inappropriate.


The value of the homepage is decreasing. “Only a third of our readers ever visit it. And those who do visit are spending less time: page views and minutes spent per reader dropped by double-digit percentages last year.”


That could be a sign that site visitors from Google News (and elsewhere) aren't converting to regular readers. Stickiness? Or did they discourage site loyalty with the ten article limit? Why should a reader become loyal to the NYTimes and bookmark their home page when there's a ten article limit?

Sgt_Kickaxe

8:19 am on May 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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the NYTimes should make content sharing a priority, but comparing itself to BuzzFeed is unrealistic and inappropriate.


It's clear that the editor of the report covets what BF has, pageviews, and since those are likely what drives revenue that's understandable. I don't go to BuzzFeed to learn about California's wildfire problem right now, for example, I'd prefer the NYTimes for truly important subjects. Lets hope the NYTimes doesn't try to become fluff, they might get what they want before realizing it's not what they want.

PAGE 90
"Maintain a list of the best digital talents in the industry and begin courting them"

This, combined with the view that HuffPost is "stealing our content"(page 88 or 89) and it's a good time to be a digital expert.

lucy24

8:40 am on May 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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ten article limit

Doesn't that just mean you have to wipe your cookies periodically?

engine

9:02 am on May 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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We can all learn a great deal from this report, and much time and effort has been invested in it's creation. It reflects much of what we all face in today's changing and disruptive online world.

not2easy

3:47 pm on May 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Doesn't that just mean you have to wipe your cookies periodically?


For the cookie aware, probably. For Average User, not as likely, for mobile even less so. It makes sharing good content less likely and less useful.

I've only scanned through the report so far so don't have a full opinion on it, but I can see that it gives a lot of insight into a rather detached form of management that still does not understand quite what the internet is and how it is used from a supply and demand context. Poor use of resources available is my first impression. I hope to get to the entire report today, it is fascinating.

martinibuster

5:17 pm on May 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Doesn't that just mean you have to wipe your cookies periodically?


No. They have a way around that. A few months ago cookie wiping stopped working. I found another way around it but that's off topic.

NYTimes not only shot themselves and their readers in the foot with the ten article limit but they rubbed salt in the wound by requiring readers to register and log in after the fifth article is read. And they wonder why their home page traffic (and brand loyalty) is sinking like a rock... They may have already lost the distinction of be the national paper of the USA.

I read an article in the New Yorker last year about how a British newspaper, The Guardian fully committed to digital reporting. Compared to them, the NYTimes seems like they're still stumbling in the dark, not really getting it. The Guardian story is fascinating reading, I encourage you to read the article. It includes how they broke the Snowden story and the extreme security measures deployed to keep files away from government spies etcetera. After you read that article you'll understand even better how far behind the NYTimes still is. But at least they're still trying. Sidenote, I met Arthur Sulzberger many years ago at the first Google Zeitgeist in 2005.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/10/07/131007fa_fact_auletta?currentPage=all [newyorker.com]

graeme_p

9:53 am on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The Guardian is owned by a non-profit and its management were prepared to take a huge risk - the strategy made losses for several years.

The article touches on one of the critical differences: the editor runs the paper - a good many papers are very firmly under the control of the largest shareholder.

not2easy

4:32 pm on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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In the first few paragraphs the leaked report touted the success of the paywall, congratulating themselves for instituting a means to stay afloat. The number of desktop and mobile readers compared to the number of digital subscribers is a joke and worse because they don't see the relevance. By the end of the article it was clear that the deciders do not understand how the internet works. Assigning social media tasks to reporters is not going to increase readership, though it may work wonders on Reporter turnover.

Comparing their numbers to social media places like buzzfeed or news/social aggregator HuffPost which succeeds while sharing their paywall content shows that they don't get it. I used to share their permalinks on related topics in a couple of sites, but had to stop that because readers complained that they needed to sign up. Instead of taking advantage of their resources and assets, they board them up only to have other sites take advantage of their auto-limited circulation. Just my opinion.

lucy24

6:59 pm on May 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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NYTimes not only shot themselves and their readers in the foot with the ten article limit but they rubbed salt in the wound by requiring readers to register and log in after the fifth article is read. And they wonder why their home page traffic (and brand loyalty) is sinking like a rock...

Hm, that sounds like the same principle as shopping sites that require you to create an account before you can even see what they've got. (Never been to one personally, but they're a perennial favorite at web-pages-that-you-know-what dot com.) Shooting yourself in the foot sounds like the right analogy.

:: vague mental association with quotation about how C++ makes it harder to shoot yourself in the foot, but if you succeed you're liable to blow off the whole limb ::

not2easy

2:40 am on Jun 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Not satisfied with the viral success of the restrictive paywall policies, they have branched out. Now I'm receiving offers to subscribe to the "Comments". Seriously. Only $1.50 a week to read the comments, for the first 6 weeks anyway. I can hardly restrain myself.

lorax

5:26 pm on Jun 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Are you kidding me? Charge for the privilege of reading comments?!

not2easy

5:41 pm on Jun 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Sorry, I misquoted their offer. It is actually:
Try it for 99˘ for the first 12 weeks.
Just $1.50 a week thereafter.
We invite you to try our new NYT Opinion subscription. We think once you experience it, your opinion of our new offering will be highly favorable.
 

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