The New York Times, the third most-viewed site in the world, has long been a proponent of content marketing. Principally, this has been done through its subsidiary T-Brand Studio.
Now the publisher has acquired Fake Love – an experiential agency – in an effort to bolster its offer.
Content marketing and journalism
We have often made the point that content marketing is not marketing, but is journalism. There is no reason to think the New York Times does not share this view, seeing as it is core to its offer of giving brands access to its platform.
Thus the question is: why buy the agency?
The easiest way to answer that is to look at what Fake Love has done. Among other things, it has produced a series of well-regarded experiences including a music festival for the deaf (using vibration and visuals).
Yet it is its work with virtual reality that has been the most eye-catching. With T-Brand, it produced a 360-degree video for Universal to promote the film Carol. And there are signs that the New York Times wants to expand its activities in this area as 360-video becomes more accessible through mobile phones.
Sign of intent
The oft-quoted example of T-Brand’s efforts was its work for Netflix on Orange is the New Black. However, there have been other projects that fail to grab the attention in quite the same way.
With banner ads struggling, it could be VR/360-video is one way to pull people in. Is it journalism? No, not really. Is it content marketing? Yes, most definitely.
New York Times buys content marketing boost is part of Content24, the blog for London content marketing agency FirstWord.