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New York Times adds breaking news, personalization features to mobile app

Daily newspaper the New York Times released new features on its iPhone and iPad mobile applications, allowing users to customize their experience by choosing what types of news alerts they receive. 

The development of these features was introduced to encourage more engagement with the apps, given users can filter different news genres, depending on their personal interests. The features launch at a time when push notifications have become a crucial marketing tool to remind users of the brand.

?For the customizable push notification feature, we wanted to drive even more engagement using push notifications because we understand that our traffic surges when we send breaking news alerts,? said Linda Zebian, director of corporate communications at the New York Times Company, New York. ?However, it?s a careful balance of sending the right amount of alerts so we added a new settings panel that enable readers who are seeking more alerts and who express interest in specific topics.?

Customizable experience
Upon the newest update of the app, the new features include an optional subscription to breaking news alerts. Users can subscribe to one or all genres of business, politics, sports and New York City-specific news. 

Times Premier subscribers can now access the Times Insider blog using the app.

On the iPad version, there is a new feature called ?In Case You Missed It,? which is a collection of the most popular Times articles compiled from the user?s browser history. 

?Our core news apps are extremely thorough and deliver the breadth and depth of the entire New York Times News report, which can include hundreds of articles each day,? Ms. Zebian said. ?So we created the ?In Case You Missed It? feature to offer readers suggestions on some of our more popular articles to also deepen their engagement and surface content that may be of interest to them.?

NYT expansion
The New York Times upped its digital video investment with the launch of an editorial section that provides several new cross-screen advertising opportunities for marketers.

The new video section is called Times Video and was created with responsive design to render across smartphones, tablets and desktops. Acura was the launch sponsor of the new site. The New York Times also partnered with Vimeo to create customized content for advertisers (see story).

Earlier this year, Starbucks teamed up with the New York Times on a promotion that doled out free access to the publisher?s mobile news product.

Starbucks? My Starbucks Reward members received 12 weeks of access to the New York Times? app. What was interesting about this initiative is the fact that Starbucks essentially leveraged its brand reputation to drive mobile app downloads and adoption for the New York Times? initiatives (see story). 

Customizing the experience for users will likely lead to more views and readership.

?The customizable push alerts allow readers to tailor their notification experience to their interests so that they only receive alerts on topics they choose which we think makes for an overall better user experience,? Ms. Zebian said. 

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Marketer, New York