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Which new products?
Plus, the NYT to grow its “Well” desk
As we roll into Q4, it's annual planning season for many publishers — and in particular, a time for evaluating which new products to pursue next year. I’ve been through lots of these new product exercises over the years, and I’ve come to realize that many omit a key component.
New product exercises often include assessments of things like customer needs, internal capabilities, mission alignment, market size, and the competitive landscape. All these are important, but I find that they don’t always narrow down the options enough.
Here’s the extra element that many omit: What you want to do. And by extension, what your team wants to do. Often it’s explicitly omitted, as we try to objectively analyze options without letting our personal preferences get in the way.
But “objective analysis” can be a crutch. The truth is that most publishers could succeed in many different areas, with sustained focus.
New products are built by people, and people have preferences. With media products in particular, passion & personality can be key to success. If a team is absolutely jazzed to build a particular product, there’s a good chance that they’ll do it well. If a team receives an assignment solely because of a cool-headed top-down “process,” they won’t bring the same energy. Real-talk about preferences also builds trust, as everyone removes the guise of objectivity and learns what energizes each other.
So as you think about potential new products in 2024, what do you want to build?
And here’s the latest news in media:
The NYT plans to grow its “Well” desk by 50%.
The Guardian US announced its first-ever investigative unit.
Dirt Media acquired the design newsletter, Sitting Pretty, and expressed openness to other acquisitions: “Someone has to take the first step toward becoming the Condé Nast of newsletters and we believe it should be us.”
Jeff Zucker invested in Front Office Sports, which is valued at $40 million.
Local news subscriptions:
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, owned by Cox, will invest $100 million in an ambitious plan to reach 500,000 digital subscribers (from 60,000 today) and develop a strong presence across the South.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, which expects to have 90,000 subscriptions by the end of the year, is launching a multi-year ad campaign aimed at millennials.
Streaming & TV:
DirectTV pushed back on CNN’s decision to include its marquee shows in its streaming service via Max.
Clix, a discovery platform for streaming video, hired a number of senior executives.
Meta’s head of media partnerships, Campbell Brown, is leaving the company. Separately, Meta has a plan to give European users a choice between a paid ad-free tier and a free tier with personalized ads.
TikTok is testing an ad-free subscription tier.
Google will require those sending emails to more than 5,000 Gmail users to have one-click unsubscribe buttons.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella testified in the US v. Google case.
News executives went to Washington to meet with lawmakers about AI, in an effort organized by the News/Media Alliance.
A UK association of publishers is urging members to block ChatGPT and Google AI crawlers.
Deepfake AI ads are featuring celebrities such as Tom Hanks and Mr. Beast.
Spotify may be working on AI playlists.
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