Same content, new format

While filling my morning mug and scrolling through my Instagram feed recently, I happened to see a sponsored post from The New York Times advertising its new Crossword Puzzle app. Subscribers can access daily crossword puzzles on their mobile phone, tablet or desktop computer, as well as The Daily Mini and other bonus free puzzles.

I was instantly struck by how brilliant it was. You see, I love crossword puzzles – word puzzles in general, really. But, oddly enough, I’m really bad at seeking out and playing paper crossword puzzles. I’ve always wanted to play The New York Times crossword, but not enough to buy a subscription. Chalk it up to being a Millennial, I guess.

There’s a lot of talk about how the old newspaper model is dying, and it is the industry’s job to address the needs of a rapidly changing audience. It’s a challenge we are all too familiar with in boating.

The New York Times has figured out how to take its most legacy product – the crossword puzzle – and bring it to a new audience. The content is still exactly the same, it’s just distributed in a new format. And, to top it off, they are engaging in new marketing tactics to find people (me) who may not have known about their updated product otherwise.

If I had to guess, The New York Times spent a significant chunk of change to invest in the app development, test it with users and launch a marketing campaign. But I would also venture to guess it will have been entirely worth the effort; once my free trial runs out, I will almost certainly be buying a subscription so I can keep playing.

It’s a lesson we can keep in mind in the boating industry, as we work to find new ways to get consumers on the water. It may not be the way we think, but if it gets people into boating, it will be worth the effort.

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