Here’s one of those stories that’s being spun differently depending on which side you sit. And admittedly, we sit on one particular side…
So we already know there’s a running feud going on between President Trump and the New York Times, which he roundly attacks as biased and failing. For example, this recent gem.
The failing @nytimes was forced to apologize to its subscribers for the poor reporting it did on my election win. Now they are worse!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2017
The failing @nytimes writes total fiction concerning me. They have gotten it wrong for two years, and now are making up stories & sources!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2017
Is he right that they’re failing? Maybe.
Last month the Daily Caller reported the Times was planning a round of layoffs and budget cuts aimed at helping the paper remain competitive in an ever-more cutthroat media environment.
Now Bloomberg reports The New York Times will be offering digital subscribers a free subscription to music streaming service Spotify, a $120 value (as those kinds of ads tend to say).
Gee, way to give your brand credibility, guys.
Now to some (like us) this would seem like a rather desperate move. But if you hear it from the Times’ perspective, it’s a sign of great momentum.
Per Bloomberg, The Times signed up a record 276,000 new digital news subscribers last quarter, fueled by what some are calling the “Trump Bump.” The new president often rails against the Times, accusing the paper of unfair news coverage of him. But those criticisms, often in the form of tweets, have amounted to free advertising for the publisher.
So in order to build on this apparent success, the Times is trying a new tack.
The odd-couple partnership — a 165-year-old publisher and a hot internet company that disrupted the music industry — is a natural fit, said Meredith Kopit Levien, the Times’ chief revenue officer. The two companies will promote the joint-subscription offer on their platforms and team up on digital advertising, Levien said.
“If you think about the places where people spend their time in media, they spend a lot on music and a lot on news,” she said. “So it made for a very positive association.”
The arrangement is aimed at helping both companies reach broader audiences. Spotify had more than 40 million paying subscribers globally as of last year. The Times just surpassed 3 million paid print and digital subscribers.
So whom needs whom here? It surely ain’t Spotify.
And then without a hint of irony, “the publisher is stepping up its marketing to better explain why people should pay for its journalism, Fisher said. Just hours after Kellyanne Conway created an uproar by calling false claims about Donald Trump’s inauguration crowd “alternative facts,” the Times launched an online advertising campaign promoting subscriptions with the slogan: “Just facts. No alternatives.”
Fisher said the publishing industry hasn’t marketed itself and its products well.
“There’s no emotional tie-in to the amazing work that’s done,” he said. “You could be telling such a powerful story about why someone should pay for journalism.”
Well, yeah, maybe people want to pay for “journalism” — but when was the last time the New York Times actually offered THAT?
[Note: This article was written by Michele Hickford]