Monday, January 19, 2015

Inside the NY Times’ audience development strategy

digiday reporting:
“It isn’t chasing clicks”
As a founding editor of The Huffington Post, MacCallum understands well the need to have social analytics at a news product’s core. Having been on the business side — she joined the Times (after getting her law degree at UC Berkeley) in a strategy and development role for video and then the paper’s new Cooking product — she had worked closely with tech and design teams, which gave her an understanding of how those parts of the Times ecosystem work together. But MacCallum said while the Times could learn from viral news outlets like the HuffPost and BuzzFeed, her goal for the paper, as a news brand with a strong subscription business, is different.
“It isn’t chasing clicks; it’s making people loyal to the Times specifically,” she said. “The Times has had the luxury of readers coming direct for many many years. As readers move from search to social, we haven’t been as in front of them.”
Things are off to a hopeful start. In a memo to staff in January, executive editor Dean Baquet said that in the first two months since the paper increased its audience focus, the Times’ online readership has increased 20 percent. (ComScore multiplatform figures back up that claim, showing the Times’ U.S. monthly uniques rose 22 percent from August to November, when they stood at 56.4 million.) Some of that was due to a strong news month in October, but MacCallum has also been busy, building her team and introducing new practices at the paper....

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