The NYT loves native, not so much programmatic
New York Times CEO Mark Thompson is not ashamed the world knows intimate details about his company’s struggles.
“It was right that we would share it with our readers,” Thompson said Wednesday morning at media agency GroupM’s What’s Next conference in New York. (The Times didn’t immediately share the report with its readers, though; it was leaked to and first published by BuzzFeed.)
Thompson addressed The Times’ digital challenges, challengers (Vice, The Huffington Post) and why the newspaper will continue phasing out display ads as it continues its transition to mobile.
The Times is bullish on native ads…
As The Times’ readership goes mobile, the publication will phase out display ads in favor of native advertising.
“Display has real value, but it feels transitional, specifically when you’re talking about a smartphone-centric world. Advertisements are going to have to be in-stream and intrinsically attractive enough to engage readers,” Thompson said.
…but less so on programmatic
“One false move is to assume that everything is going to be done mechanistically,” Thompson said. “Programmatic is going to be part of our future. But actually there’s potential for creativity in regards to advertising on the devices we now use.”
On transitioning influence online
There is perhaps no newspaper as venerated as The Times, but no one knows you’re prestigious on the Internet. Thompson acknowledged The Times’ need to more proactively assert itself online.
“There was a time when the influence of The Times was narrower than it was today. Influence today is more multifarious and needs much more active involvement of the content producers, reporters and editors. Our responsibility is to engage audiences rather than relying on a printing press and a truck to do that for us.”
Encouraging staffers to be more active online
Better reaching readers starts with Times staffers, Thompson said. While some Times journalists have embraced audience-engagement tools like Facebook and Twitter, there’s been a fuss about high-ranking members — namely editor-in-chief Dean Baquet – being Luddites in that regard.
“We need to generalize [having our journalists engage readers],” Thompson said. “We need to make sure that it’s not a handful of stars but part of the workflow.”
Thompson lauded Vice’s Hunter Thompson-inspired approach to the news but reminded the crowd that The Times, too, dabbles in it, too.
“Vice is a brilliant packaging and focusing of a known style of experiential reporting that is found in the New York Times,” Thompson said. “The technical stuff they’re doing around amplification and how they think intrinsically about multimedia is interesting.”
On The Huffington Post
Thompson said HuffPo’s aggregation model was far less defensible than Vice’s, though.
“The Huffington Post is easier to replicate, such as a lot of the stuff we’re doing now around aggregation with NYT Now. Trying to build an entire business model around aggregation is tough,” he said.
On the filter bubble
While The Times has become increasingly dependent on Facebook, Google and Twitter for distribution, it has no plans to co-opt their algorithms.
“The New York Times brand stands for and will always stand for a very high human component. Not clever tricks of news gathered by other people, or defining news by popularity, but people figuring out from ground zero if this is an important story,” Thompson said.
‘Go to market faster’: The Washington Post’s Arc goes outside the tent for payment and data integrations
Subscriber revenue has become more of a priority to the Washington Post's Arc clients since it launched its subscription tools last year.
‘Profitability in the back half of next year’: BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti (and Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan) on their big merger
A special Digiday podcast episode features Interviews with BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti and Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan.
‘A digital Madison Square Garden’: How Complex reimagined the sponsorship opportunities for ComplexLand
The online event, which will combine music, conversation, gaming and shopping in an online world, will have 60 sponsors.
SponsoredPublishers will lead the charge as cookie-less advertising becomes the norm
Steve Wing, managing director, EMEA, Magnite As the advertising industry moves closer to a cookieless world — one in which browserless environments including connected TV (CTV) and mobile in-app are an increasingly large part of ad budgets — publishers will have an increasingly important role in developing the future of identity. Segment creation and identity […]
‘People have had permission to experiment’: Pandemic expedites rethink on 9-to-5 work structures
Starting out as a short-term fix to weather the coronavirus storm, employers are seeing work hours outside the traditional 9-to-5 week as a new normal.
‘They wanted to unload it bad’: Why HuffPost made sense for BuzzFeed – and Verizon Media Group
BuzzFeed's acquisition of HuffPost will give it access to an older, more affluent cohort, potentially bolstering its news and commerce businesses.