Oh but so much more than that.
The New York Times will launch a new daily podcast hosted by Michael Barbaro called “The Daily.” The show, which is billed as “a reimagining of a daily audio report for a digital audience,” will debut on February 1. It will include a text messaging component and will be available on Alexa-enabled devices. Each 15-20 minute weekday show will publish at 6 a.m. and will focus on the news of the day, featuring two to four stories. BMW is the official launch sponsor of The Daily.
What? Another news podcast? Nothing special there, even with Alexa integration. But wait…
A unique element of this audio show is Barbaro, who will communicate with listeners via text message. He will “share context, analysis and thoughts” on the day’s news with readers via SMS, as well as “act as a personal guide” to the news. When you subscribe to his text messaging service, an automated text reply reads, “Michael Barbaro here from the NYT, ready to help you make sense of the news… More soon!”
In other words, this isn’t simply a podcast. Nor is it the equivalent of a daily audio briefing. Nor is it simply a service for SMS updates. It is a new connection leveraging multiple platforms between the NYT, its talent, and its current – and future – audience. It is a reimagining of how to build a bridge to a digital audience that directly taps into the ecosystem of the New York Times.
From @NYTimes a new connection – listen up, #radio
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NYT isn’t seeing this as a podcast play or even an audio play. It’s a connection play designed to strengthen bonds between its consumers and its brands, leading to sponsor dollars and ultimately subscription dollars.
“Our readers have always turned to us first thing in the morning to help them understand the world. Now, with our new audio report, we’re able to explain the news in a whole new way,” stated Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times. “In text, reporters are just grey bylines that most people may not even notice. … But in audio, our reporters become personalities, your friends, your guides, and we think the loyalty that engenders will draw people deeper into the New York Times ecosystem,” Dolnick told Morning Media.
NYT recognizes all media as parts of its information and revenue ecosystem, not as separate distribution channels for one-way content.
This is a worldview that sees consumers first and leverages the strengths of the NYT. Note how this is different from asking the question: “We’re the NYT. How do we sell our stuff to more consumers?”
If you don’t think businesses across the audio space are in exactly the same boat, then you need to revise your own worldview. The NYT sees their reporters as “personalities, friends, guides.” How do you see the voices between your songs, Mr. Broadcaster? How do you see the voices that report your news?
And what have you “reimagined for a digital audience” lately?