New York Times Launches Web-Based Documentary Series

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One of the oldest players in traditional media, the New York Times, is embarking on a new project that could help turn the paper into a full-fledged online video network.

This week, the paper quietly launched a new Web-only documentary series – in conjunction with Retro Report – on Boomer, its blog targeting the baby boomer generation. Formed earlier this year, Retro Report is a not-for-profit documentary company that counts former 60 Minutes producer Kyra Darnton as its managing editor. Each 10-15-minute documentary will be presented every Monday on the New York Times website, accompanied by an article, until 2014.

Thematically, the documentary series is designed to take a look back at history and then contextualize that history with what we know about the story today. The first in the series is titled The Voyage of the Mobro 4000, which covers the controversial floating garbage ship from New York that, for five months, was repeatedly refused docking permissions along the East Coast and South America. The incident is credited by some as helping to kickstart the recycling movement in the U.S.

Regular visitors to the NYTimes.com website are already familiar with the short video clips prominently featured on the site’s front page that offer deeper insight into everything from fashion and pop culture to human interest stories. But this new foray into longer form, film-style video hints at the possibility of a dedicated network in the future that could help transform the old media stalwart into a competitive player in the race to build Internet-native video channels.

Adding to such speculation is the timing of the launch, which is just three weeks after the website announced a new policy of free access to its online videos, superseding its 10-article per month limit set for non-subscribers. 

It also comes shortly after The Huffington Post’s Internet video network sealed a deal to bring its programming to cable television.

By Adario Strange, PCMag


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