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Media trends: Will the NY Times try TV?

by | Mar 8, 2018 | Analysis, Public Relations

Even the most reputed and storied print publications are making changes, trying to figure out a new way to keep the bills paid and turn a profit in the digital age. Online advertising isn’t getting it done for many, so they have chosen to diversify. Print corporations are buying TV studios and radio stations, and vice versa.

Recently, it was announced The New York Times has plans to try TV. The Times has been doing well with its podcast, The Daily, but the foray into television is a bigger risk. And there are still a lot of hurdles. There are key creative spots to fill, leaders that need to be hired, and the Times’ TV project needs a TV home and distribution service.

In an interview published by CNN, one Times manager working on the project said the goal was to create “a showcase for the most ambitious visual journalism of The Times.”

So, what do they have in place? Let’s start with the production company. Left/Right has been tapped for that job and has, according to CNN, already developed several segments for test markets. And what can fans of the Times expect from the TV version of the news? According to early reports, the program will set out to include “groundbreaking investigations, reporting, agenda-setting interviews and new formats…”

Essentially, one of the most august print publications in the country plans to not only try something new, but also to invent something that has never been tried, at least successfully

This will definitely be an interesting media PR opportunity, both for the Times and for anyone featured on the show. If they do find a way to make it popular and profitable, this venture could lay the framework for other struggling print media to follow.

One of the big questions now is will the program opt for traditional cable distribution or go directly to streaming. There are pros and cons to each option, but at this point streaming may offer more of a benefit. Streaming offers more portability and, likely, less cost than cable. Plus, the younger generation is more apt to stream than to watch on a cable service they either don’t have or don’t really want.

The choice of vehicle will also determine some of the content and direction of the program. Initially, the Times may try both, at least temporarily. It’s difficult because media still hasn’t reached the tipping point where cable is an afterthought and streaming is definitely the way to go. That’s coming, but it’s not here yet. And, if the times wants to be a groundbreaker, it has to pull the trigger on this project soon.

Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian founded 5WPR, a leading PR agency..

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