In an effort to make The New York Times more “indispensable and valuable,” the publisher is launching a new entertainment website and expanding its health section Well. Both are being developed internally by NYT Beta, which created NYT Now and its Cooking app.
Today, the Times announced Watching, a new vertical focused on helping readers sort through the mountains of video content released on streaming services and cable. The site will have a “set of tools that will quickly guide users to the best streaming content” and short reviews presented in a smart manner, a release said.
The section will begin as a newsletter before becoming a website in late summer and will be edited by television editor Gilbert Cruz. The Times has hired Margaret Lyons from New York Magazine’s Vulture as a writer for Watching.
Additionally, the Times health and wellness section called Well is being revamped, featuring more guides and shareable cards as well as getting a newsletter. The section will still be edited by Tara Parker-Pope.
The successful launch of its Cooking section, which now collects eight million visitors monthly, triggered the Times to expand into other areas. “The biggest thing we learned from Cooking is that The New York Times’ authority, and trust that people have in our brand, can be applied in meaningful ways,” Ben French, VP of NYT Beta, told Digiday.
With Cooking, the Times’ figured that its database of recipes and can be mined in more useful ways, such as solving common dilemmas, like what to make for dinner or for holidays. French hopes that logic can be applied to what to stream with Watching or how to run a marathon with Well.
“Everyone has the same frustrations of what to watch and there are lots of services that exasperate the problem” French said regarding Watching. “The goal of it is not to be another entertainment news site, rather help you make a decision based upon what everyone else is watching and personal preferences.”
Well was a “no brainer” to be relaunched, French said. “It’s one [section] that has operated under the radar,” and NYT Beta’s idea was to add more functionality so it has a “utility layer on top of the journalism.”
Philips, the exclusive sponsor on Well, will have paid posts written by the T Brand Studio on healthcare topics, like aging and sleeping. The Times will announce a sponsor for Watching closer to launch date.