The New York Times says it’s a “leading global, multimedia news and information company,” one which is making the transformation from dead trees to digital. The woes of the Times – and every other traditional newspaper – are well documented. Having grown up in the New York City suburbs there’s something about printed page which provokes a deep emotional reaction, flipping through the Sunday paper with bagels and coffee. Pure nostalgic anachronistic bliss.
The news companies can digitize, debate paywall philosophies, even produce amazing digital experiences, but so long as they think of themselves as producing content and not as a community, they fall victim to the declining valuation of the individual article.
So what’s the next great opportunity for the New York Times? Dating! What? Yes, you heard me, dating. Matching partners based on the overlap in the articles they read (ie Times URLs they visited). Today I read about SimCity, the JCPenny vs Macy’s Martha Stewart Battle, the US weather and a movie review of Oz. Now I’m happily married but IF I WASN’T, I’d likely be interested in finding out what women read those articles as well. I mean, at least we’d have something to talk about over a drink. Content starts conversations.
Many media properties have strong brands and even stronger communities but aren’t fully taking advantage of these relationships. While they shouldn’t just try to build products which aren’t their competency, there exist unexplored data and distribution opportunities. When you’re looking for revenue, you should be willing to turn over a lot of stones.