A few years ago, The New York Times acquired the audio journalism app Audm with the aim of using it as the basis for its own audio product. Today, the media company unveils the result of that work with the official debut of New York Times Audio — a new mobile app that combines the publication’s best podcasts, such as “The Daily,” “The Ezra Klein Show,” “Hard Fork,” Modern Love’, ‘The Run-Up’ and others, with those created exclusively for the new platform. These range from short news roundups to lifestyle content to lengthy commentary journalism and more.
Plus, thanks to the acquisition of the production studio behind “Serial” for $25 million, the app also includes content related to that deal. This includes the eponymous show itself, plus new shows from the studio like “The Trojan Horse Affair,” “The Coldest Case in Laramie,” and others, as well as “This American Life,” hosted by Ira Glass, among others.
The Times has invested heavily in audio programming as another way to reach its audience, particularly those who want to engage with its journalism on the go, whether commuting, walking their dog, running or traveling. But typically, NYT’s content is accessible through third-party platforms where users already stream their podcasts, such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Of course, isolating that content into its own app gives NYT a more direct relationship with its audience, meaning it can also collect more user behavior data, such as what people are streaming and downloading. (Plus, it could sell its own ads). But its appeal may be limited, as the app won’t have a podcast catalog to rival existing platforms, where people already stream their favorite NYT shows, such as “The Daily.”
And with the addition of exclusives to NYT Audio, listeners will have to constantly switch between apps to hear all the shows they want to tune into – and that’s not necessarily something they want to do.
Even Spotify realized late that its exclusive strategy with podcasts was not paying off. The company once believed it could entice big-name users and generate its own popular originals by buying studios, but it has since focused more on the hosting platform than the creator, firing top podcast execs in the process. NPR also recently canceled four of its podcasts amid its own string of layoffs, creating an uncertain market for NYT Audio.
Still, there could be some appeal for NYT loyalists or those who haven’t yet made listening to podcasts their routine, and will see this new app as something of an added value on top of their existing subscription. For the audience willing to give the app a try, there will be some new shows to sample.
For starters, there’s a new morning show called “The Headlines,” hosted by Times reporter Annie Correal, that brings you up to speed with the most important stories in 10 minutes or less and lets you hear from reporters in the NYT newsroom. Meanwhile, a new short series, ‘Shorts’, will provide lifestyle content such as recipe ideas, TV and book recommendations, travel inspiration and tips for living well.
A feature called “The Magazine Stand” offers a curated selection of longform narrative journalism from other outlets, which is essentially what Audm had provided.
The company says that as a result of this launch, the standalone Audm app will now disappear. All existing Audm iOS subscribers will automatically transfer to NYT Audio at the same monthly or annual rate, so they can continue to access their existing narration content.
There is also a “Daily Playlist” that aggregates top stories, culture stories and other content into an hour or less and a “Reporter Reads” feature where journalists read their own work and share additional context around the story.
‘This American Life’, ‘Serial’ and other shows from Serial Productions are also included, along with sports talk shows from ‘The Athletic’.
The NYT’s audio app has been in beta testing for about a year and a half before today’s arrival and is available to all news subscribers.
The company notes that it has no plans to pull any of its existing content from third-party platforms like Apple or Spotify as a result of this launch.
The app’s arrival follows The New York Times’ extensive investment in its own suite of dedicated mobile apps, which now includes the popular NYT Cooking app and, more recently, an updated NYT Games (formerly Crossword), which recently benefited from the acquisition of Wordle. .
“We are excited to introduce more people to a new way to experience The New York Times,” said Stephanie Preiss, senior vice president and general manager, Audio, in a launch announcement. “Audio journalism has the power to bring stories to life, and our app now allows our audiences to take The Times with them – on dog walks, on the commute – when reading isn’t an option. Bringing New York Times Audio to news subscribers is just one way we add more value to a Times subscription, at more times throughout the day,” she added.
The New York Times Audio app is iOS only.
At the time of writing, it has moved up to number 5 in the news section of the US App Store.