The New York Times (NYT) is building its metered model for NYTimes.com in 2011 for many reasons, as chairman and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. pointed out during the Times’ annual meeting of stockholders yesterday. “Creating an online business model with the goal of yielding larger financial returns is critically important,” he said.But the metered model is not just about training users to pay for New York Times content, or show shareholders that they are working on an additional revenue stream.
It’s also about creating an “emotional connection” with readers, according to Sulzberger. After all, if a user is paying for NYTimes.com content, perhaps they would be more willing to spend more time on the site, go to their homepage first before anyone else’s and In other words, they are building loyalty to the New York Times brand (you hear that, Rupert?).
At the core of our thinking is the necessity of increasing engagement. This is about having our users generally spend more of their valuable time with us, either on our site or on other sites that are integrating our content. It is about enhancing the emotional connection that our users have with us.
We start off with the premise that the key to increasing engagement is about compelling storytelling. This transcends technology — it is not about the printing press, or the server, or the cave drawing, for that matter. It is about an essential human connection, and we are working hard to explore this notion and enhance our relationship with our audiences worldwide.
To accomplish all this, we continue to take the necessary steps to become a more technology-centered organisation, developing new products that speak to the desire for community, personalisation and greater access to quality information.
During the presentation, CEO Janet Robinson went over headlines during the company’s recent earnings call.
On the metered model, she had this to say: “We want to make sure that the meter, infrastructure, communication plans, e-commerce tactics and pricing options are all well designed and ready for successful implementation. We know the whole world is watching.”
Other highlights from the presentation:
- Shoutouts from Sulzberger about the Times’ Pulitzers, Haiti coverage, The Lede blog, Webby Awards and lots of recognition of their work.
- Sulzberger said goodbye to outgoing board members Scott Galloway and Dan Cohen, his cousin and longtime adviser. He also introduced Carolyn Greenspon, who is up for nomination.
- Robinson noted that the NYTimes Twitter account has 2 million followers and The Times has been fanned by more than 500,000 Facebook members.
And, during the final presentation, Sulzberger took a chance to address the Wall Street Journal’s new Greater New York section, which launched on Monday:
Reinvention means being even more aggressive on issues of importance – such as our deep commitment to our home market and the Times’s 827,000 business readers, 908,000 affluent adults, and 809,000 women readers in New York.
Reinvention means taking on all competition, including such enterprises as The Wall Street Journal, which is trying to compete for a greater share in that home market. It is welcome to try, but we believe it will soon discover there is a reason that our readers and advertisers are very loyal to The New York Times. We are a great newspaper, a great Web site and a great advertising vehicle.
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