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Home » The New York Times enters the podcast app business at a ‘weird time’

The New York Times enters the podcast app business at a ‘weird time’

The New York Times introduced a new product for its subscribers. It’s The New York Times Audio, an app that, essentially, curates all of the Times’ audio journalism in one place. The Times describes it as its “audio front page.”

The Times said, “Listeners will find podcasts hosted by our reporters, dispatches from our correspondents around the globe, cooking advice from our recipe authors and much, much more.” That would include shows such as its signature podcast “The Daily,” as well as “The Ezra Klein Show” and others.

In addition, the app will gather:

  • “The Headlines,” a new show lasting under 10 minutes, where Times reporters discuss three of the biggest stories of the day.
  • Short pieces from culture and lifestyles reporters.
  • “Reporter Reads,” where reporters describe how they found their stories and what surprised them during their reporting, then read the stories out loud.
  • Sports podcasts from The Athletic, which is owned by the Times.
  • An archived collection of the podcast “This American Life.”
  • Magazine journalism from top publishers beyond the Times, read by professional narrators.

Vanity Fair’s Charlotte Klein wrote about this in “‘How do we get every second of your day?’ The New York Times goes all in on a new podcast app.”

Klein wrote that it’s a “weird time to get into the podcast app business.”

She added, “I’ve been playing around on the app the past few days, and it does, at risk of sounding too woo-woo, feel like diving into the Times universe. On Tuesday, I hit play on the playlist curated each weekday morning and was taken from the day’s ‘Headlines,’ on bank collapses and the war in Ukraine, to ‘The Daily,’ where Mexico bureau chief Natalie Kitroeff was reporting from the southern border on the day Title 42 ended, to a “reporter reads,” in which publishing reporter Alexandra Alter read a piece she cowrote with Elizabeth Harris about an author who was asked by Scholastic to delete references to racism from her book, to a short by ‘This American Life.’”

Klein concluded, “At the very least, the NYT Audio app felt like a smoother experience than Apple’s much-derided podcast app. It felt, too, like a huge investment incongruous with the state of the audio industry — one perhaps only the Times is in the position to make right now.”

Recode’s Peter Kafka tweeted, “I don’t understand the strategy for this, at all. It’s built for people who love NYT podcasts (check) but who don’t want to listen to podcasts made by anyone else (what?).”

He added, “To be clear: I know why NYT execs would prefer you listen to NYT pods on an NYT platform. I don’t know why NYT pod listeners — who by definition are already listening to NYT pods on another platform — would switch over. Even if you really, really like the NYT platform experience, you will still have to go back to your old platform (Apple or Spotify) to listen to NYT pods. And, again, NYT will keep its pods on other platforms, since they reach a much bigger audience.”

Kafka wrote, “I’m sure there are some NYT audio superfans who will switch over. I can’t imagine there are enough to justify the time and money spent on this.”

We shall see.

This piece originally appeared in The Poynter Report, our daily newsletter for everyone who cares about the media. Subscribe to The Poynter Report here.

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