NYT BETS ON VIDEO: The New York Times made its NewFront’s debut Monday morning at the Dia Art space in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. Bruce Headlam, the Times’ managing editor of video, started the hour-long presentation with an overview of the paper’s shiny, expanded digital and marketing strategy. That strategy includes a souped-up digital hub comprised of videos organized across 14 channels devoted to different sections of the paper, such as culture, style, news and politics, sports and food. Acura is the launch sponsor of the hub, which will be home to more than 30 new series.
Some of those series will include videos by well-known columnists, such as Mark Bittman for food, Molly Wood for technology, David Carr for media and culture and Adam Bryant, who has a business column called “Corner Office.”
In a surprise appearance, Vanessa Friedman, who doesn’t start as the Times’ fashion director until next month, will also get her own program. Her videos will explore the behind-the-scenes world of fashion, and will touch on the industry’s historical, cultural and political connections, she said. “I was so eager to be here that I jumped the employment gun,” said Friedman, who is still tying up loose ends with her previous employer, The Financial Times. Although she wrapped up her column last week, she will end her employment at the British paper by moderating its annual luxury summit in Mexico City in mid-May.
Carr lightened up the mood with a self-deprecating comment about his wardrobe. Calling his tan suit a “garbage bag with a pair of legs” that is “rented and due back at 11 o’clock,” he quickly turned to the driving force behind the digital push.
“More and more because we are becoming a consumer company, I think it makes us a more powerful advertising company,” he said, offering that nyt.com gets 40 million unique visitors and 800,000 paying customers around the world. Carr — who at times sounded like he’d transferred to the marketing department, even referring to the paper as a “brand” — credited those numbers to the Times’ strong and trusted reputation.
In order to bring in new revenue, the Times has partnered with Vimeo to develop original branded content for marketers. The videos include riffs off of popular Times columns like “Modern Love,” as well as “Verbatim,” a sketch on real legal transcripts that are reenacted by comedians.
The site will also stream Kevin Spacey’s play “Clarence Darrow” in September.
The paper launched a native advertising platform, in which brands can advertise their own videos alongside the Times’ videos. Marketer videos will be “clearly labeled,” the company said, adding that its first native video partner is Sotheby’s International Realty. The Times also expanded its cross-platform native program called “Paid Posts,” comprised of text, images and video.
But back to journalism.
The Times, which posts more than 430 videos a month, said it is training its foreign correspondents on how to use and cut video via mobile device for its site. “The Internet is the great leveler. Once video was the sole preserve of the broadcasters,” said the Times’ chief executive officer Mark Thompson, who closed the presentation. “But now, anyone with the talent and an idea can create great video and get it to a big audience. Over the past year, I’ve been lucky enough to watch the Times really get to grips with video. We’re all behind this push into video…and we’re going to back it with resources and tech investments.”