#Outlook2010: There’s a business opportunity in e-readers, says NYTimes circulation VP

Last week Journalism.co.uk attended the INMA and Online Publishers Association (OPA) Europe’s annual conference Outlook 2010 – the event focused on innovation, transformation and making money for media businesses. Follow our coverage at this link.

“There’s a real opportunity for paid electronic products,” Yasmin Namini, senior vice president of circulation at the New York Times, told delegates last week.

Namini was specifically referring to the NYTimes’ experience in this area – the paper created a unique ‘bundled’ offering with Amazon’s Kindle. The NYTimes Kindle offer at $499-a-year was the latest version of the e-reader (the DX), in a NYTimes branded leather wallet and came with a year’s subscription to the paper’s Kindle edition.

Sounds like a hefty price tag – but to buy a Kindle DX is $489 and it’s £168 for a one-year NYTimes subscription on the device.

“We wanted to test our capabilities to sell a device and a subscription as a bundle,” explains Namini.

The deal was launched as a test at the end of September and nearly every available NYTimes-Kindle has been sold. Furthermore the offer was only marketed (via an e-mail campaign) to expired subscribers to the print edition and potential readers outside of print home-delivery routes. The first sale was made within 10 minutes of the e-mails being sent out, adds Namini.

Similar trials have also been run by the Washington Post and the Boston Globe, according to a release from Amazon.

Some caveats from Namini to publishers looking to launch similar packages – publishers should:

  • Maintain the billing relationship with the customer
  • Determine the pricepoint for customer
  • Have access to customer data

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