The New York Times Has Answer for Lost Revenue in Newspapers: NYT Opinion App

NYT OpinionLove to complain? Love to gripe? Love to just get it all off your chest? Basically, are you from New York?

If so, there’s now an app for that too. Introducing The New York Times’ answer to lost revenue in this new economy where everyone reads news on this Interweb thingy: NYT OpinionSomeone in the NYT Company is doing their homework because this says to the publishing world, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em … and then editorialize it.”

They did and it’s working.

(NOTE: I am not from New York, but all my colleagues on PRNewser [including our fearless leader] are, so this will probably be my last post for that wise crack. Crap.)

It’s no secret that newspapers are hemorrhaging thanks to the Internet. Don’t want to buy a subscription? You will find your story there for free — and in many different forms. And what’s that damage? Ad revenue.

Recently, Slate posting a startling “milestone” in the newspaper industry that every publisher has marked on their desktop, next to a picture of a tombstone. Just in case.


That chart reads to America that print ad revenues are now the lowest they’ve been since 1950, when the Newspaper Association of America began tracking industry data. Big deal? In 1950, the U.S. population was less than half its current size and the economy was about one-seventh as big.

Understandably, that scared the bejesus out of many publishers, so NYT did something about it: commoditize everything!

NYT Crossword was first, then NYT Real Estate (because that’s a big thing, we hear). NYT refurbished its own app, ironically leaving it on the ‘Newsstand’ where few people look anyway. What could they profit from next?

Hey, it’s New York: Opinions are everywhere. And a pretty ingenious app was born. It offers MyReads, which is much like Pocket and Instapaper, for those who can’t be bothered with “breaking news.” Two different columns and readers can even comment live on the paid application, which is $6 monthly.

Yeah, there’s that. The Old Grey Lady still needs some money to buy some shoes or some such.

Joshua Benton, director of the esteemed Nieman Lab of Journalism at Harvard, echoes sentiments from mostly everyone who loves reading the NYT opinion page:

Benton’s thinking is the coveted young reader. Would they pay for this app? After all, they have the residual income and aren’t worried about those other things like mortgage and kids. Bah!

NYT has figured out what retail stores learned long ago — sell it all together and people have only one choice: Yes or No; sell it piece-by-piece and people provide one result: Show me the money!


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