While readers of the print version of the New York Times spend an average of 40 minutes a day, visitors to the Web site (a vastly bigger number) spend just 30 minutes a month. The company's Times Reader is finding time spent is similar to the print experience, Rob Larson, VP of Digital Production, told Beet.TV in this interview taped at the paper's offices earlier this week.
As time spent is critical for advertisers and subscribers, this engagement number could be a significant development for online monetization of newspapers and magazines.
There has been quite a lot of buzz about the Amazon Kindle and other new electronic devices for "paper like" digital reading. However, the Times Reader is not a new piece of hardware, but a "hybrid" software implementation empowered by Adobe's AIR.
Consumers download a free application to their desktop and synch with the latest New York Times when they are connected to the Web. They can read it while connected and receive updates, or go offline and read it when they want. An abbreviated edition is free and a full download is $3.45 per week, free if you have home delivery of the print edition.
AIR integrates the dynamism of the Web with quality experience of a desktop application Last September on the MIT campus, I interviewed Adobe's CTO Kevin Lynch who speaks about AIR. You will find my interview below.
The Times Reader 2.0 went public on Monday. We really like the quality of the printed word, the multimedia elements and the organization, which seems to open up the paper to an experience akin to going through pages of the printed edition.
The videos in the Times Reader look very good, but you can't watch them on the go as they are streaming Flash files and do not reside locally. You need to stay connected.
-- Andy Plesser, Executive Producer
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