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Media Organizations Are Developing Products Faster Than Ever During Pandemic

Publishers are getting new offerings to readers and advertisers in days, not weeks

a collage of publisher mastheads

免费120秒试看Key insights:

Covid-19 has forced the media industry to reconsider time. Specifically, how much time it takes to build, test and collect data before releasing a new product for readers and advertisers.

免费120秒试看As the coronavirus put pressure on media organizations to disseminate information as accurately and as widely as possible, newsrooms and product teams have also fast-tracked new products.

“The pandemic is an acceleration of what trends were happening anyway,” said Paul Hardart, clinical professor of marketing at NYU Stern School of Business.

In the short term, media organizations hope these products will continue to meet reader demand and draw advertisers at a time when they could especially use the revenue. In the long term, it may redefine just how much time it takes to innovate and release new products.

Publishers’ earlier efforts to diversify revenue streams with in-person events are moot because of social distancing orders. And in this storm, they’re left trying to juggle whether to enact layoffs, pay cuts or furloughs during an economic crisis with no precedence.

“To survive as a business, they’re going to have to start releasing products in a fast way and respond to changes in the marketplace,” Hardart said.

And they have. Politico created a within 24 hours; Bloomberg Media built a new ; Business Insider launched a new ; The New York Times created a ; and Axios fast tracked an app.

Here at Adweek, on March 2 we created a blog-style tracker, three weeks later we launched a daily livestream, and in the weeks since have started a weekly future-focused video series, two new podcasts, and created additional resources for creatives and marketers.

And the list goes on.

‘It is a speed that is very much new to us’

At Politico, new products are usually kicked around for about two months while the team quietly shops them around to potential sponsors. But Covid-19 changed that.

“Our timelines have really gone from quarters to weeks,” said Aaron Kissel, Politico’s chief product officer.

At the March 9 morning meeting (virtual, of course), the media organization dreamed up a newsletter to give timelier updates on the coronavirus. went live that night, a timeline that “is unheard of,” Kissel said.

And within days of its creation, Politico monetized the newsletter with client Ro Pharmaceuticals. Other advertisers have included PhRMA.

Politico also turned its live events into virtual briefings, with reporters giving first-hand looks at their stories tracking the crisis as it unfolded. “It is a speed that is very much new to us and something we were trying to find pre-crisis to drive the organization,” Kissel said. “This has been an incredible experience for us to see how fast we can go if we force ourselves to.”

Email sidelined in favor of video calls

Bloomberg Media has announced two new products in the last several weeks, including a and a new vertical, , devoted to covering the business of streaming services.

From ideation to execution, the new interview series, called Leadership Live with David Rubenstein, was created in two weeks instead of the typical 10-week timeframe. It went live Monday.

To make it happen, the teams have prioritized video calls rather than emails and phone discussions while getting these products off the ground.

“With some of these features, you don’t have a window to debate and discuss this for weeks on end,” said M. Scott Havens, global head of digital and media distribution at Bloomberg Media. “There’s no way that would’ve happened if we were working in the office. There wouldn’t have been the need to do it at a record pace.”

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