Research & Development Group
Underpinning our digital growth strategy is our Research & Development Group, the first in our industry. The R&D; Group helps us anticipate consumer preferences and devise ways of satisfying them; the group assists in product development across the Company. In January 2006, Michael Zimbalist joined the Times Company as vice president, research & development operations, and has led the development of the R&D; team. He clarifies and sets the Group's vision to build a vibrant, long-term innovation capability for the Company.
Take a look inside the Research & Development Lab
In May 2009, Nieman Journalism Lab toured the R&D; lab and created several videos about its mission and projects. Click each image below to view the associated video.
R&D; is Organized into Three Overlapping Groups:
- Core R&D; monitors the changes in enabling technologies and consumer behavior in order to envision and prototype new products and services;
- Emerging Platforms Group operationalizes select prototypes and enables the Company’s business units to rapidly enter onto new platforms including video and mobile; operates the Company's mobile messaging platform; Emerging Platforms Group is now also working extensively within the “cloud” to assess its operational capabilities at scale;
- Audience development and analytics operates the Company's multivariate page testing platform for all units; performs custom analyses of audience segments to enable better targeting, and text mining for business intelligence across the units. Using analytical tools, the group has tested different presentations of our content and page layout, which have enabled us to further deepen engagement with our readers and optimize both display and pay-per-click advertising placements.
R&D; is structured to ensure that its forward-looking efforts have maximum practical impact on all of our businesses, helping to accelerate our transformation to a metrics-driven, multiplatform media company committed to a process of test, measure and learn. Since R&D; operates as a shared service across all our Web sites and is closely aligned with our operating units, applications such as our mobile products can be rapidly deployed at all of our Web sites.
Beginning in the second half of 2008, R&D; began focusing on innovative opportunities with marketing partners. This is a collaborative effort with agencies and their clients to explore new possibilities for advertising in a time of changing technologies and business models.
As part of the effort to approach marketing in new ways, R&D; engaged Denuo, a division of Publicis, as its futurist in residence for a six-month consulation. Denuo helped define new ways of leveraging Company assets to create unique marketing opportunities.
R&D; was also a leader in the Online Publishers Association (OPA) initiative to introduce new online ad formats that launched in 2009. The R&D; group continues to explore design and technology innovations that can improve user interaction with brands on the Company's many platforms. Read press release
Current Areas of Investigation
- Smart Content: Unbundled content elements that have rich metadata about themselves, such as author, media type, geolocation, etc.
- Cloud computing: Processing and storage that occurs in a shared and networked computing environment, such as Amazon EC2 and S3.
- Device independent computing: Media that is dynamically reformatted to provide optimal viewing experiences on multiple platforms and devices.
- Smart objects: Everyday objects with embedded microprocessors that know what they are, where they are located, who is using them and how they are being used. Smart objects have the ability to send and receive data over the network.
- Alternative interfaces: Interaction models that move beyond the computer-mouse-keyboard paradigm. Examples include gestural interfaces, multi-touch interfaces, voice recognition, mobile bar codes and presence detection (ambient interaction).
- Location-based media: Content that is dynamically customized according to the user's location.
- Advertising innovation: Investigation of digital advertising approaches that go beyond the current banner and display ad models to take full advantage of the new media and business landscape.
News About R&D;
Times Reader 2.0
In May 2009, Times Reader 2.0 was launched. It is an enhanced version of the digital newspaper reader with online/offline reading capabilities, powered by Adobe® AIR® software, and is available on any computer running Windows, Mac OS or Linux operating systems.
News about R&D;
In this audio slideshow, Michael Rogers, futurist emeritus, discusses several ways in which the Times Company is changing the way it delivers its content to meet the evolving needs of today's readers.
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