Merchant Innovation

The New York Times Is Delivering Food With The News (No, Really)

For those of use who’ve ever perused a recipe in The New York Times and fantasized about preparing it before rapidly realizing we own absolutely none of the appropriate ingredients to prepare said dish, a new service is arising just for us.

And, surprisingly, it is being offered by The New York Times itself.

Newspapers are a tough business to be in these days — and so The NYT is doing some out-of-the-box thinking — or perhaps into-the-box thinking since what they are selling is meal kits in boxes.

This summer, The Times will begin selling ingredients for recipes from its NYT Cooking website. To make this happen, the newspaper will be pairing up with meal-delivery startup Chef’d, which will send the ingredients to readers within 48 hours. The Times and Chef’d will split sales from the venture

“Our audience spends a lot of time cooking at home,” said Alice Ting, VP-brand development, licensing and syndication for The Times. “So for us it was a natural area to investigate.”

Because as advertising and circulation are declining — rapidly — The NYT is looking for ways to make money from its brand and content. Meal delivery is one way to go about it — and finding something is pressing since, as of now, The Time’s total revenue is 94 percent accounted for by advertising and circulation.

This is not the first branch out for the newspaper giant — The Times in recent years has hosted conferences, built an online store, founded a wine club and nurtured a now growing travel business: “Times Journeys.” The travel plan allows tourists to pay thousands of dollars to be guided through nations like Iran or Cuba by The Times’ foreign correspondents.

And The Times expects big things from its meal kits, given the 7 million monthly active viewers of its NYT Cooking website.

“We wouldn’t do this if we didn’t think there was a revenue opportunity,” Ting said. “This is definitely not the last one.”

And, added Amanda Rottier, product director of NYT Cooking, it has the additional benefit of being self-sustaining.

“These meal kits we’re offering are just another tool to help our users become more comfortable in the kitchen,” she said.

The Times is doing somewhat better funding itself on its readers eyeballs. Earlier this week, The Times reported first-quarter profit that beat estimates as it added digital subscribers, but it also reported a drop in both print and digital advertising in the quarter.


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