Another launch in the New York Times’ plan to open up their content to the rest of the Internet: The newspaper made their entire historical archive of 22,000 movies reviews available — going back to 1924 — including code that allows outside developers to easily syndicate their reviews and sort them by release date, “critics’ picks” only, etc.
Who might use the new API (“application programming interface”) features? Well, we already see iPhone applications that help people find movies or video games using similar code to pull review data from Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes. With the new links to NYTimes data, a company like Netflix (NFLX) could use the new code to automatically link to the Times’ 1939 review of “Gone With The Wind” and highlight it next to their DVD listings. Or a company like Comcast (CMCSA) could add reviews to their on-screen menus. By contrast, Metacritic doesn’t even list the Scarlett O’Hara flick at all, and Rotten Tomatoes links to contemporary write-ups.
We don’t imagine this will earn the New York Times online many pageviews — or revenue — in the short term. But for far too long newspapers like the NYT have been ignoring the treasure trove of ad revenue-generating content that is their archives. Any step newspapers can take to open up that content and make it easy for people to find it is a step in the right direction.
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