BostonGlobe.com -- All the News That Fits You and Your Form Factor
This week I attended BusinessWire's 50th Annivesary Party at the Boston Harbor Hotel. I would like to congratulate my friends Sanford Paek, Jennifer Saragosa and everyone we work with at BusinessWire for this accomplishment. Fifty is quite a milestone and I commend them for continually adapting their business to the ever-shifting communications landscape, and for their commitment to great customer service.
Sanford invited Christopher Mayer, the publisher of The Boston Globe to say a few words and the timing couldn't have been any better given the Globe's recent announcement to launch BostonGlobe.com as a separate site from Boston.com. After Chris provided an overview of the strategy behind the launch of the new site, I spent a few minutes talking with him one-on-one about the effort and their objectives. Here are some of the highlights:
- I was impressed with Chris' frank assessment of the challenges facing the Globe and journalism in general, but even more so with his enthusiasm, vision and strategy for BostonGlobe.com. More than a couple of times he emphasized the entrepreneurial orientation they are taking to make their content more accessible and relevant to not just hold on to existing subscribers, but to attract new ones.
- One key element of the strategy appears to be a twist on its parent company's, The New York Times tag line: "All the News That's Fit to Print." For BostonGlobe.com, it's more about providing all the news that matters to you, delivered to your preferred device for news consumption.
- You will pay for that personalized experience. Current customers who receive the print issue at home will have unlimited access to BostonGlobe.com. Customers who subscribe to the digital product only, will pay $3.99 per week. I asked about examples of where this has worked in the past and Chris cited The New York Times and Wall Street Journal as the most well-known examples.
- Their use of technology -- HTML5, data analytics and customer preferences -- will enable BostonGlobe.com to deliver information in formats optimized for a multitude of devices. Basically, it sounds like every digital subscriber will be able to build their own personalized version of the newspaper. If you are a sports fanatic, for example, you will be able to put that at the top of your news feed.
- I asked about what impact they are seeing from their Twitter channel -- referring users to their content and drawing readers in. He noted that it's a factor and they watch it closely to help determine the kind of content that appeals the most to digitally-oriented audiences. This leads to the question of community and conversation. Plan to see more opportunities for this to take place.
- Appealing to the new generation of digital readers is still a work in progress. The fact is that a decreasing percentage of people who are 35 years old and under don't pick up or subscribe to the physical paper any more. Cracking the code to get them on board will be the ultimate test. But at least for now, BostonGlobe.com is trying to reach them with the right combination of technology and personalization they demand and expect.
- Finally, I got the sense that the editorial direction will become increasingly local in its orientation. As a long-time Globe subscriber, I have appreciated its national and even global coverage, but at times I think it forgets that its primary audience is within 60-90 miles of Boston. I feel this has been especially true of the business section. More focus on the emerging and ongoing successful businesses in this area would make me happier. If we want this community to grow and provide opportunities for people to stay, then helping by shining a light on companies that can provide jobs to make that possible is critical.
With these efforts The Boston Globe is taking the steps it needs to continue its transition into the new digital reality.
So the question is, will you be subscribing to BostonGlobe.com?