The New York Times improves his audio game. Today, the publication launched New York Times Audio, an iOS app for subscribers that serves as a one-stop-shop for all of its audio journalism, including its current slate of podcasts like The Daily And The Ezra Klein Show. If you like a certain podcast platform like Spotify or Stitcher, no need to worry – the Time‘ the greatest podcasts will always be available for free on other players.
Instead, the app appears to be an attempt by the Time to build a dedicated audience around all of its audio offerings – not just podcasts. It will serve as a home for even more audio journalism, including exclusives that the outlet creates only for the app.
This will include a daily 10-minute recap show titled Header lines which publishes every morning and Shortswhich literally seem to be very short audio stories – under 10 minutes – about culture, lifestyle, cuisine, etc. In addition to this, there will be a “Reporter Reads” section showcasing Time journalists reading their own stories and offering additional commentary.
Audio exclusives are meant to sweeten the pot for the current Time subscribers, helping the publication retain its 9.7 million subscriber base. THE Time says he’s seen this formula work with newsletters and hopes to replicate it with audio as well.
“What we’ve seen with our subscriber-only newsletters, in particular, is that subscribers who engage with them engage and retain better than those who don’t. This aligns with our belief that delivering differentiated value with a Times subscription is good for our users and good for our business,” Jordan Cohen, executive director of communications for The New York Timeswrote in an email to The edge.
There’s another financial benefit for the Gray Lady if the app takes off: it means she’ll have a valuable source of first-party listening data on her subscribers. And there could be other ad monetization options down the line. “(The newspaper) has the opportunity to explore partnerships with brands to sponsor app-specific shows and programs as more consumers become accustomed to the advertising light, as opposed to the options ad-free subscription,” Paul Kelly, chief revenue officer of ad-tech audio platform AMA, said The edge.
At first glance, the app itself has a sleek interface and is simple to use. There is an option to increase playback speed and download episodes. But when it comes to podcast players, the app is still pretty basic. Adding custom accessibility features like written transcripts or the ability to share non-exclusive episodes (the latter of which appears to be in the works) could further boost the app’s audience.
The app opens to a “Today” tab, where listeners can find a playlist that updates daily with new episodes of Shorts And Header lines. Listeners can also follow their favorite shows or create a personalized playlist. Overall, the app does a solid job of organizing a vast number of Time audio stories in one place – it never feels overwhelming or too busy.
According to Cohen, there are currently no plans to offer a cheaper audio-only subscription for The New York Times Audio — the app is only available to All-Access and News subscribers. But it seems that the Time toyed with this idea before launch: the App Store listing mentions an in-app subscription of $5 per month for audio content.
THE Time does not intend to do shows like The Daily other players like Apple or Spotify. “We intend to remain a major publisher in this space,” Cohen wrote.
THE Time has been on an audio buying spree over the past few years – acquiring Serial Productions (the podcast studio behind Serial) and a sports newspaper Athleticism (which has over 50 sports podcasts). He also formed an alliance with the syndicated radio program This American Life and purchased Audm, the subscription audio non-fiction app. The app will efficiently house all of this content, as well as show archives such as Serial And This American Life.