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New York Times CEO Mark Thompson on the Paper's Digital Future: The Full Code/Media Interview (Video)

A chat about apps, video and subscription strategy.

Asa Mathat
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

The New York Times makes most of its money selling print-and-ink newspapers and the ads that run inside them. One day, it will make most of its money selling digital news, most likely on your phone.

Figuring out how to get from here to there, and how long that will take, is Mark Thompson’s main task, and it’s a hard one. The New York Times CEO dropped by the Code/Media conference last week to give us an update on his work — he has been on the job for two-plus years — and some hints about what we might see from the newspaper in the near future.

One thing Thompson wouldn’t talk about — though I tried, several times — were any discussions the paper might be having about a distribution deal with Facebook. Chris Cox, who heads up product for the social network, told us that same evening that Facebook is indeed talking to publishers about hosting their content, particularly on its mobile app, and I’m assuming the Times is on their list.

But Thompson did talk in general terms about how the paper thinks about getting its stuff distributed outside of its own site and apps and its willingness to trade some control of its product for the chance to reach a wider audience. Yes, there’s risk, Thompson said. But “there’s a danger … of staying outside the party.”

Here’s the full video of Thompson’s interview with myself and Re/code managing editor Edmund Lee:

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