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New York Times CEO Bullish on the Future of Podcasting

“Meredith Kopit Levien told investors the New York Times’ podcasting division could be a “very big business”.”

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New York Times CEO Meredith Kopit Levien sees a bright future for podcasting. The new chief executive of the historic New York newspaper told investors this week at the Goldman Sachs media conference that the company will continue with its efforts to move further into the digital audio space, and beyond the world of print.

“Audio is an area we are particularly excited about,” said Kopit Levien.

On average, “The Daily” generates four million downloads per day, nearly twice as many as it was delivering a year ago. Kopit Levien realizes the NYT’s audience in digital audio is significantly larger than the printed newspaper.

“Most of the people who are listening to The Daily everyday look quite different than traditional newspaper readers,” added Kopit Levien. “In many cases they’re new people to having a daily habit with The Times. They tend to be younger than traditional Times readers in print or even in digital, they’re much more likely to be female, the vast majority of the audience is under 40, and a lot is under 30, and they come every day and they listen in many cases the whole way through.”

The Times has shown it’s committed to investing millions of dollars to grow popular programs like ‘The Daily’, and to invest in major brands like Serial Productions, which the company spent 25 million dollars to acquire. They also struck a multiyear licensing deal with Ira Glass’ This America Life and recently added Kara Swisher’s new podcast Sway.

Second quarter was especially strong for the company, with digital revenue passing print revenue for the first time in company history. Podcast-specific revenues weren’t released, but second-quarter digital ad revenues were down 32% while print advertising revenues dropped 55%. A decline is expected for third-quarter too, with losses being attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kopit Levien believes the podcasting division for the company could be a “very big business” and likes that it not only helps grow subscriptions, but it produces cash on its own. She also cites the value of shows like “The Daily” introducing listeners to other new programs under the company’s banner. For instance, the new education podcast “Nice White Parents,” has already become the 10th biggest podcast in August according to Podtrac.

Despite audio producing significant traction and elevating optimism throughout the company, Kopit Levien is less bullish on the possibilities in video.

“I don’t know of any companies that were not born out of linear television that have succeeded in making video itself, original video production, as a standalone business, a strong business,” she said. “The economics were much different than in text. I think for the Times and many others in journalism. [Audio] is a clearer lift and one we have more optimism around as a standalone business.”

News Print & Digital

Futuri Creates Program that Turns User Content into Video

The platform is reportedly gaining popularity among television broadcasters following the release of a new version tailored to their needs.

Eduardo Razo

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Audience engagement company Futuri has created a new program called POST. The platform allows its users to upload audio, add texts and images and turn the content into video. 

The platform is reportedly gaining popularity among television broadcasters following the release of a new version tailored to their needs. According to Inside Radio, more television companies look to capitalize on the growing audio medium to reach their audiences. 

“Today’s audiences don’t think of media brands only in terms of ‘TV’ or ‘radio’. Quality content, be it video or audio, is what gets consumers engaged,” said Futuri CEO Daniel Anstandig.

POST comes equipped with scheduling tools, video tools, and search engine optimization. In addition to ingesting and automatically editing a TV newscast’s audio feed, Futuri says the TV version of POST will also swap out the television commercials with programmatic ad markers.

“The way we’ve customized the POST podcasting systems for the unique needs of television broadcasters will help them quickly capture the audience and revenue growth opportunities that the explosive growth of audio has created,” added Anstandig. 

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News Print & Digital

Washington Post Tells Staff to “Comply Now” with Work Policy

The Post has put an ultimatum to its staffers who are not showing up to the offices for the three days they require or face the consequences.

Eduardo Razo

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The Washington Post has put an ultimatum to its staffers who are not showing up to the offices for the three days they require; they can either come back or face “disciplinary action.”

In an email sent throughout the company, Post chief human resources officer Wayne Connell called on staff to “comply now” with the newspaper’s work policy. 

After re-opening its offices on March 15, the publication demands that its staff be in the office “at least three days per week.” 

“If you haven’t complied with our 3/2 policy since our March return, or you haven’t complied consistently, we’d like to underscore the need to comply now,” the statement read, per Mediaite

“Beginning this Monday, June 27, please ensure that you are in the office at least three days per week, assuming you are not on approved days off such as vacation time, sick time, etc. Failure to comply with this policy may result in disciplinary action.”

Connell adds that the Post is being fair with its demands to have their staff come in three times a week, striking the right balance by allowing employees to work from home and having the office experience that a Zoom meeting can’t replicate.

“We believe this companywide policy strikes the right balance, allowing both in-office collaboration and greater levels of flexibility than before the pandemic, and it’s only fair that we enforce this policy consistently,” the statement concluded. 

“We continue to evaluate the effectiveness of the 3/2 model and reserve the right to make changes in the future. In the meantime, please do your part in helping us meet these expectations.”

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News Print & Digital

The Obamas Agree to Content Deal with Audible

The exclusive, worldwide, multi-project, multi-year first-look production deal will see the collaboration supporting Higher Ground’s commitment to audio.

Eduardo Razo

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Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama left Spotify in April. It didn’t take them long to find a new home for their content as the Obamas’ media company, Higher Ground, and Audible have reached a multi-year deal.

press release announced the exclusive, worldwide, multi-project, multi-year first-look production deal will see the collaboration supporting Higher Ground’s commitment to audio.

“At Higher Ground, we have always sought to lift up voices that deserve to be heard — and Audible is invested in realizing that vision alongside us. I’m looking forward to partnering with them to tell stories that not only entertain but also inspire,” President Obama said. 

“We are so proud of the stories we have been able to tell at Higher Ground, and there’s no one we’d rather write our next chapter with than Audible. Together, we will keep striving to tell compelling, provocative, and soulful stories—while doing everything we can to make sure they reach the folks who need to hear them,” Michelle Obama said.

The slate of Audible programs will reflect the companies’ shared task to convey meaningful and entertaining stories that promote diverse voices and backgrounds.

“We have long recognized President and Mrs. Obama’s historic capacity to captivate,” Don Katz, Audible’s Founder and Executive Chairman, stated. 

“We are thrilled to welcome two of the most profound voices of moral and intellectual leadership of our times into the Audible fold, and to be able to elevate President and Mrs. Obama’s singular ability to provide hope and uplifting guidance—needed now more than ever—through their voices.”

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