In the Monday January 18, 2016 edition of the New York Times, I read John Koblin‘s article, Disruption by Netflix Irks TV Foes in both the physical newspaper and online version. Koblin analyzes a sensitive tension created between Netflix and traditional television networks. I found this article very compelling due to my interest in media industry/ changes in new media, especially in regards to audience.
Given my interests and knowing that I’m the target audience for the online edition, I tried to avoid bias by reading the physical version first and then comparing it with the digital. The technical differences were the most obvious. In the physical copy, the article appeared at the top left side of the front page in the “Business Day” section. Not surprisingly, the title and the content are exactly the same in both the print and online version. However, the print newspaper simply exposed the first few paragraphs of the article and noted “Continued on Page 2.” The rest of the article and several images were shown on much of the page 2. In comparison, the online version displayed the article in one long page rather than cutting the content into different pages. Ultimately, I spent more time reading the physical newspaper rather than the online version because the flow was cut.
Re. images, the physical copy arranged them closely together in similar sizes. As the article covers the competitive/delicate relationship between Netflix and cable television network, the physical copy aligned images of the chief executive at Netflix and FX – readers can see the rival positions. Also, two scenes from the two Netflix movies are located in a vertical line; in contrast, the online version positioned these images between paragraphs.
As a reader, the print version grabbed my attention with a few first paragraphs on the front page. Later on, the more detailed story with images was elaborated in the next page, giving readers the option to either overlook the rest of the story or read more depending on personal interest. Furthermore, the physical newspaper repeats the title, Netflix’s Opaque Disruption Irks Rivals on TV on the second page with the same big bold italicized font, which is not shown in the online version. While it refreshes readers’ views and highlights the focus, some readers could be confused and see it as two different stories.
On the other hand, the online version inserted appropriate images with each executive’s quotes or in between lengthy paragraphs. It tried to integrate images within the text without cutting the flow of reading. Moreover, the insertion of two movie scenes prevent readers from becoming bored. Not only does the online version feature a different arrangement of the images, but also new types of functions are added. On the left side, five tabs labeled email/share/tweet/save/more provide more chances for the readers to share this story with others. Also, “Related Coverage” and “More in Media (a category of the article)” sections try to hold readers longer in NYT website.
According to the New York Times Innovation Report, NYT is in the process of digital transformation by embracing and keeping up the new desire of online readers. In the report, the importance of using social media is highlighted – especially in how NYT focuses on personal aspects of their readers. For example, the report noted, “we have watched the massive migration of readers to social media even as we were redesigning our home page” (p.5). More and more people are accessing NYT articles via different social media and not directly through their website. After choosing this article, I researched further and found that NYT shared this article in its own social media channels. NYT’s Facebook page and Twitter account shared this article (FB page continually update the news), and the writer also retweeted the link of the article. Therefore, I would give them an A- primarily because of NYT’s commitment to adjusting to new trends in the digital news industry. Based on the result of the Innovation Report, NYT is trying to transform into new digital landscape; but they are still in transition to embrace more users through their social media outlet. Currently, I think their main business area is still NYT’s home page, so I will give them an A-, not an A.