Over the last ten years, the New York Times has been transitioning from an online news paper, to a dynamic media powerhouse, featuring some of the best short films on the internet. In the last couple of years, the production value of their shorts has reached the same level as the journalism it supports. The video below is a prime example of what I am talking about. Part of a series of five films commissioned by the New York Times Magazine’s “The Lives They Lived” issue, which commemorates people who died this year this film focuses on Johnny “Spider” Footman who was New York’s oldest taxi driver. Spider tells a great story, and has a great message for a Monday morning. The film by Joshua Z Weinstein that this short is based on can be found here. The trailer for it is below.
This little piece for the New York Times was produced by Designer: Johnny Kelly and Nexus. Bright colorful flat design that pulls from book to book creating a series of scenes that cover the range of the New York Times’ annual ‘Holiday Books’ Book Review. From the credit lines on Vimeo, it looks as though this was designed, animated, and rendered in 3D. You’d never know by the very distinct 2D look. For maximum effect, watch it full screen.
Production Company: Nexus
Director + Designer: Johnny Kelly
Producer: Isobel Conroy
Project Lead: Mark Davies
Animation: Sergei Shabarov, Michal Firkowski, Fabrice Fiteni, Mark Davies
3D Rendering: Michal Firkowski, Jeremi Boutelet, Mark Davies
3D Modeller: Florent Rousseau
Compositing: Elliott Kajdan
Client: New York Times Book Review
Art Direction: Nicholas Blechman
Music & Sound Design: David Kamp
What do you do when you are in a dying business as a print based content provider; when your reader base is shifting to all digital, and primarily mobile and tablet driven resources? In the case of the New York Times, you restrict access to your content and try to drive people back to reading your physical newspaper. Say what? Yes you read that right. Apparently the New York Times thinks this won’t drive any readers away.
Starting June 27th the New York Times is going to limit the number of articles any non-paper subscriber can read on iOS, Android and Windows powered devices. The strategy is to try and encourage readers to subscribe to the print version. If you do, you get full access to all articles on the New York Times site at no extra charge. I say good luck with that, because your readership has left the print world behind. (Doesn’t a newspaper make more money off of ads than through subscriptions anyway? Hmmmm.)
Under the new set up, non subscribers will be able to read a maximum of three articles per day, from twenty five sections of the online paper including blogs and slideshows. Once the limit has been reached, users will be asked to pay for a subscription to further access content.
Up till the 27th, readers who have not subscribed have complete freedom of the “Top News” sections. After the 27th you’ll have an increase in choices of sections, but a lessened allowance of accessible content. Video content for all areas of the site still remains available and free for all.
To ease users into this change, the publication is planning a seven day free trial run when downloading the updated version of the Android or iOS app. I’d really like to see the numbers on how this shakes out for the New York Times over the next year. I’d bet they get very few converts, and possibly lose readership overall.
OK my inner design geek is going to come out now.
As a designer that works with interactive content, web enabled content, and content that links back to and through social media, I’ve often wanted a way to visually track the sharing of content. I want to be able to see what happens when a piece of content is shared, and how that shared content propagates across the social media sphere.
The New York Times R and D lab have done just that. Using Processing they have developed a dynamic visual application ( Cascades ) to track what happens with each article published on the New York Times website. The video below explains it.