NYT Leader on Product Development (Part 2)
Our parenting product is the newest addition to our portfolio. It’s a great example of how our team identified a new opportunity and how we product development operates at The Times. First, we explored the market landscape to see if there was a revenue opportunity. Second, we looked at its viability for a subscription model. In addition, we identified advantages that we could bring to the market as a New York Times product.
For example, we tried to pilot a “beauty” product because we wanted to reach younger women. However, our brand does not present a clear advantage in the beauty space. In other words “pro makeup tips from The Times” would not resonate with that audience. Finally, we looked to see if there were unmet user needs that would make a subscription model viable for relevant content.
As a result, we landed on parenting because it stood out for a number of reasons. For instance, the market is massive with plenty of opportunities to make a difference. Most importantly, it’s driven by guidance and utility – which are two attributes that align well with The Times. Furthermore, we found that a subscription model would work well because there’s a constant need for information among parents.
Once we identify a new product development opportunity, we start with a discovery process rooted in human-centered design. The goal is to create a clear product vision, which drives the creation of an early prototype for testing. Through this process, we determine if the concept is meeting user needs or if we need to refine the concept further.
Next, we release a beta version of the product to the public in order to verify product market fit. The last step is testing monetization options with users to ensure that we are pricing the product correctly. Ultimately, if you are going to charge users for content, you need to make sure that you’re delivering a ton of value.
About the speaker
Alex MacCallum is the Head of New Products and Ventures at The New York Times, a position she assumed in September of 2017. In her role, Alex oversees the Cooking and Crosswords products and businesses, as well as new product development. Before joining the Times, Alex was the corporate counsel to The Huffington Post and worked in general management for Lerer Venture backed start-ups. She was also the founding news editor at The Huffington Post and an editorial aide at The Washington Post.