Commentary

'NYT' Will Experiment With SMS During Rio Olympics

New York Times deputy sports editor Sam Manchester will be heading up an new project for the legacy publishing giant: sending out SMS updates for the Rio Olympics, including GIFs, photos and personal dispatches.

Readers are invited to ask questions and share their experiences as well.

It’s an interesting approach to literal one-to-one communication. Other publications like POLITICO Europe have experimented with novel mobile forms of communicating news. in POLITICO’s case, it created a mobile wallet ticket that automatically updated and sent push notifications to those who downloaded it during the Brexit vote.

On one hand, SMS has richer capabilities -- but also the potential to be more annoying and invasive if the Times sends too many messages. However, POLITICO reported that its audience was engaged enough with the content that very few found the many push notifications to be annoying.

The Times has gone after mobile pretty hard, announcing a strategic shift towards mobile and other multimedia forms like VR and video earlier in the year that was symptomatic of a sea change for many legacy publishers.

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As publishers find new ways to deliver news on mobile’s unique platform -- beyond apps and mobile sites -- mobile audiences are responding fairly positively, at least from early indications.

Google is also helping drive the medium forward with its Accelerated Mobile Pages, which the company recently announced will be expanded beyond news sites to the wider Web -- enabling users to access text articles at a much faster rate.

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