Rebecca Howard is general manager of video production at The New York Times, where she’s responsible for developing and managing the growth of the Times’ online and mobile streaming content, including live video and feature segments across all platforms.
In May, the Times began offering unlimited access to its video content at nytimes.com, on the Times mobile site and in other mobile applications, to all users. Why has the Times decided to take this approach?
Rebecca Howard: Video is a focus for the company. We know we need to reach out past our subscriber base to increase awareness of our excellent video offerings. We’ve been ramping up our distribution strategy as we continue to build our partnerships. By lifting the pay-gate, we’re making our video content more readily available and sharable. In addition, we have tremendous interest from advertisers for our video content, and we’re working with them in innovative ways to align them with our content.
How might your more ambitious streaming video content serve to enhance and/or complement the Times’ traditional daily print product?
The Times is respected for our ability to deliver ‘the story behind the story,’ and we feel video is an organic extension that creates a more immersive experience for our daily reporting. Increasingly, audiences are expecting video to be integrated into their online experience, [so] we want to offer an experience where you can get what you need to know in one destination, rather than jumping around the net. For example, following the Boston Marathon bombings, we had full clips of the actual event as well as profiles on behind-the-scenes efforts. You could get up-to-date information and analysis in print, and learn even more with the immediacy of the moving images.
How might the recent surge of tablet and smartphone use affect your streaming plans?
We’re very focused on continuing to enhance our ability to stream on mobile and tablets. More than half the world is walking around with phones in their pockets, and that number is growing rapidly year over year. We’re a global brand and our reach is sizable. Therefore, we want to make it easy for our audience to watch when, where and how they prefer. Our mobile strategy will be important to make that experience possible.
Does your streaming content already carry credibility given the reputation of The New York Times?
We recognize we’re in an excellent position to stream a daily report. Our access and talent in the Times building is tremendous, and many [news] broadcasters rely on this talent every day. We’re currently developing a show that will capitalize on our credibility and commitment to accuracy.
We’re also looking at content providers in categories that reflect all our sections beyond news—including culture, business, style and travel. We would like to be the one place on the web you need to go to see the best of the web.