In a push to regain favor with advertisers and Wall Street analysts, The New York Times has been aggressively pushing its unique vision for “The Living Room of the Future.” In fact, CEO Janet Robinson has been increasingly putting members of her R&D team front-and-center as she meets with advertisers and ad agency executives. Her goal is to convince them, first, that the New York Times has figured out the whole Internet thing and, secondly, to lock down new advertising deals. This being earnings season and all that, the Wall Street Journal recently took a closer look at what the future holds for the New York Times:
research and development operations, acted as guide on a typical tour
through the company’s lab on the 28th floor of the Times building. The
tour is centered on what Mr. Zimbalist calls a “living room of the
future,” a small room with a brown couch, a large flat-screen TV and
four smaller screens on another wall.
The set-up is designed to mimic how a reader will be able to receive
Times content sent using various technologies including RSS feeds and
Twitter. In a demonstration, a staffer receives a Twitter message from
a friend recommending a video from Times food writer Mark Bittman. Mr.
Zimbalist touched the recommendation on one screen and dragged it to
the flat-screen TV, which plays the video. A recipe associated with the
video then appeared on Mr. Zimbalist’s iPhone with an ad for a nearby
Whole Foods store.
future for how New York Times content will be distributed and
Ever since the 1970s, of course, people have been discussing the “living room of the future.” (Try Binging “living room of the future” and see how many results pop up!) What’s fascinating about the approach by the New York Times is how the vision is being driven by a “content” company rather than a “technology” company. Slowly but surely, the New York Times is transforming itself from a text news company to a true multimedia news company.
For more videos about the New York Times R&D team and the future of news & advertising, check out this excellent five-part video series from the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University.