The New York Times is betting on visual journalism for future growth.
At its digital NewFronts presentation Monday morning at The Times Center in New York, the company unveiled six new video series that cover topics in music, sports, business and science, as well as new virtual reality projects.
NewFronts presentations, which are taking place over the next two weeks in New York, essentially give publishers an opportunity to unveil their video plans for the year to advertisers. As print advertising has waned, the importance of digital has grown exponentially, especially when it comes to sponsored video content.
“What’s the future of media? It’s great content,” said Times chief executive officer Mark Thompson at the presentation. “Our business is changing at the speed of light. We don’t just want to keep pace, we want to set the pace.”
The ceo concluded: “The future of media is visual.”
As a result, the company is doubling down on digital journalism, which includes visual content, podcasts, video and virtual reality.
Timed to its annual Voyages issue, The New York Times Magazine will debut its first episodic virtual reality series (also called “Voyages”) in the fall. The series will send viewers out on assignment with the magazine’s photographers across the globe.
T Magazine is also investing in VR with two series set to hit this fall. The first, called “The Creators,” chronicles the work of designers, performers and artists, and gives viewers an inside look at their creative worlds.
The second series, “Secret Cities,” coincides with New York Fashion Week in September and will provide insight into “secret cities” and lesser-known places. The series will continue beyond NYFW and follow the European collections. The series will be conceived in partnership with renowned directors, The Times said.
During the presentation, executives highlighted the company’s sponsored content division, T Brand Studio, as a powerful partner for advertisers. They also unveiled the launch of Times Story [X], the rebirth of its research and development lab that combines its newsroom and product teams, in order to “advance how stories are made” and to explore the “intersection of the physical world and the digital world,” according to executive vice president and chief revenue officer Meredith Kopit Levien.
The company had “Lion Babe” give an entertaining live performance early in the presentation with graphics that changed to the music in order to demonstrate how the physical and the digital worlds intersect.
Later, a host of Times journalists talked about their work, as the company unveiled the new programs, which included “The Fine Line — Olympics: Rio de Janeiro 2016,” “The Inside Track: Making of Tomorrow’s Hits,” “The Art of Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business,” “Two Tales of a City,” “Chartland,” and a space show called “Out There: News From the Other Side.”
On a separate note, former executive editor Jill Abramson, who was fired from The Times in 2014, was spotted in the audience sitting with the press and taking notes. Once a reporter, always a reporter.