NYT Leader on Product Development (Part 3)

Within our portfolio, the cooking product highlights our product development process from start to finish. In addition, it also illustrates the future potential that new products can develop once they’ve been proven in the market. Our discovery process started with watching how our segments of cooks went shopping, prepared recipes and ultimately cook meals at home.

Using friends and family as testers, we created a bunch of value propositions. In addition, we refined our product vision based on their feedback. From this discovery process, we identified four areas of focus for the cooking product:

Inspire me to cook: People have trouble deciding whether or not to cook. In addition, people want to get excited about the meals that they are preparing.

Help me find what I’m looking for: We found that there weren’t a lot of great search options for meal preparation. For example, “how do I use the asparagus in my fridge?”

Keep all my stuff in one place: There are plenty of crazy systems for organizing recipes. For example, you have newspaper cutouts or index cards stuffed in a cookbook. As a result, we set out to create an organizational system for recipes.

Make cooking accessible for me: Previously, recipes featured in The Times could be intimidating because they had strange ingredients or the cook time was over 4 hours. With this, we had to make the process a lot easier.

In addition, we realized that the metered pay model for the rest of The Times needed to be adjusted for the cooking product. For example, you can read up to 10 free articles per month on nytimes.com – and then your meter resets the next month. With the cooking product, we thought that we’d be giving away too much content under that model. As a result, we developed a premium model that provides 30 days of free access to the product.

Ultimately, the success of new product development is finding new audiences that can benefit from your company’s core strengths and values. From there, it’s all about listening to your target customer and providing value that only you can deliver.


Click here for Part 1

Click here for Part 2

About the speaker
Alex MacCallum The New York Times, Senior Vice President Member

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.