The New York Times’s multimedia project Snow Fall was a huge success, attracting big audiences and lots of plaudits. But the paper can do even better — it can build a new business from this type of project, and change the definition of journalism in the new century….
Now, let me explain why the Times can do it. And for that I will point to Hollywood again. One of the reasons why Hollywood studios succeed with the multi-tier approach to their “product” is because they do their best to ensure that they create an optimum experience. And they can do that with the right story, the right stars, the right production values and, most importantly, they have distribution. And gobs of money.
The Times and other big media companies have a lot of those same capabilities. They have great stars (real people, for god sake, are better stars than anything Hollywood can produce — see the Cleveland samaritan), they have great storytellers (editors and reporters, whose Pulitzers are testimony enough) and they have the ability to create the right production values (photographers, visual artists and designers). The Times also has a big audience – 35 million monthly visitors to their website in the U.S. alone, according to comScore – which means it has a lot of attention, which can be channeled effectively to promote new concepts.