GVI Logo
About Us Portfolio Services Contact header
About Us

Friday, July 24, 2009

The New New York Times

Perhaps no other newspaper is as forward thinking about the Internet and "new media" as the New York Times. They've been running a lot of video on their website, much of which I've celebrated on this blog. But where is it all heading?

According to a WSJ article, they have been giving advertisers tours of the living room of the future. Here's how the WSJ described it:

"a small room with a brown couch, a large flat-screen TV and four smaller screens on another wall. The set-up is designed to mimic how a reader will be able to receive Times content. In a demonstration, a staffer receives a Twitter message from a friend recommending a video from Times food writer Mark Bittman. Mr. Zimbalist (VP of R&D) touched the recommendation on one screen and dragged it to the flat-screen TV, which plays the video. A recipe associated with the video then appeared on Mr. Zimbalist's iPhone with an ad for a nearby Whole Foods store."

Hard to tell where the content ends and the advertising begins. But newspapers are in dire straights and they have to find new ways of making money. That's also why they're considering charging readers for access to their online content. If they continue to improve and add to their online content it very well may work. I find there's always something interesting that catches my eye. And I'm planning to write about another NYT Chang Lee video next week.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cost v. Quality

What do you do when you need to respond to outside pressures, like cutting costs for example? Something has to give, right, but the choices you make can have long range implications.

When Martin Guitar was faced with that question, they decided they could not compromise the quality of their instrument. After all, that's what their reputation was built upon, and they knew that if they reduced quality they'd find themselves on a slippery slope. After all, Martin guitars have been the first choice of music greats like Elvis, Gene Autry and Eric Clapton -- who once said if he could be reincarnated as anything, he'd want to be a Martin guitar.

So they took another approach. Quality guitars are made by hand, and Martin did not want to lay off workers during the downturn. So they decided to produce the guitars just as they always had, but without the decorative inlay pattern that added a touch of style but didn't affect how the instrument performed. They picked this option during the depression and it kept the company humming along. You can read the whole story in the WSJ.

So what's the takeaway? Cost and quality can meet in the middle. It just takes some flexibility and planning. And like Martin Guitars, keeping your eye on the big picture.