The New York Times revealed a more robust – but still free – iPad app over the weekend, revamping the “Editor’s Choice” app it launched in April 2010 that featured a selection of the media company’s top stories. Direct Marketing News caught up with two of the New York Times Media Group senior marketing executives by e-mail today to hear more about its app strategy.
Direct Marketing News (DMN): How does the iPad app factor into The New York Times business strategy in terms of both readership and advertising?
Yasmin Namini (GM of reader applications and SVP of marketing and circulation at The New York Times Media Group): More and more, our readers are coming to us on a variety of platforms, and we are committed to creating optimal reading experiences tailored to the distinctive characteristics of each platform. For the iPad, we have designed our app to take maximum advantage of the unique opportunities the iPad offers, expanding the reach of our journalism with an immersive “lean back” experience that encourages readers to sit back and enjoy.
Denise Warren (SVP and chief advertising officer of the group and GM of NYTimes.com):
Our advertising for iPad is designed to provide clients with a large, beautiful marketing canvas and engaging rich media capabilities. We have seen great interest from advertisers; we have three advertisers at launch and we have sold out all shares on the iPad app for the rest of the year.
We offer a number of ad positions on the iPad app, including interstitial ads, home page, section front and article half-page page. Our ads use the latest technology, including: tilt to activate ad, swipe to activate ad, tap to activate ad and click to view slideshows and video, download iPad app, hear song/audio file, and more.
DMN: What’s new in this app compared to the one launched in April?
Namini: The NYTimes app for iPad builds on the… Editors’ Choice App, adding content from more than 25 sections of The New York Times and related blogs. It also offers more videos and photos, with the ability to view or watch photos or videos within article pages. The enhanced navigation tools give readers a better sense of location within the app and allows them to discover content they may not have seen otherwise. And breaking news notifications allow readers to stay on top of breaking news even when the app is closed.
DMN: How does your iPad reader differ from the print newspaper subscriber?
Namini: This app is designed for readers who have a strong connection to The Times brand and who seek out the NYTimes app for iPad as a distinct and separate experience from the Web or from print. We have many print readers who also read us online, so this app provides another platform for them to engage with our journalism.
DMN: How many iPad apps have been downloaded so far? What percent of your subscribers does that translate into?
Namini: The NYTimes app just launched on Friday, so we don’t have numbers to share just yet. The current app is an update to the Editors’ Choice app, which was downloaded more than 650,000 times since its launch in April. As we designed this new app, we were able to leverage feedback and user experience information to enhance the design and functionality for an optimal Times news and multimedia experience on iPad and hope that readers will find the app to be an enjoyable way to read The Times.
DMN: Why is the app still free?
Namini: Our plans to charge for the app in 2011 are part of The Times’ pay model strategy. By making the app free at launch, we are encouraging our readers to experience the app and all of The Times’ outstanding journalism, all optimized for the iPad environment.
DMN: How are you promoting the app to subscribers?
Namini: We are putting substantial resources behind our promotion. We announced the launch of the app with a full-page, full-color ad in The Times on Friday as well as on NYTimes.com. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will continue advertising the app with significant marketing efforts, including ads in The Times and on NYTimes.com, as well as through e-mail and targeted external media.