September 18, 2014 Last Updated 4:32 pm

The New York Times launches new cooking website and iPad app: NYT Cooking

New product from the Digital Products and Services Group has a launch sponsor, Chobani, and so new project is not behind paywall

The New York Times has launched a new sponsored website and iPad app called NYT Cooking. The website and app are single sponsored by Chobani, and so access to is free for the reader (at least for now)

NYTCooking-introThe NYT has been, until recently, among the least active app launchers. The Gray Lady launched an iPad app in April 2010 after it was featured in the preview event by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. But that was, and is, really a replica edition – a replica edition of its website, not really a new product.

But change may be afoot, as the NYT has begun to both extend its main brand through creating apps such as NYT Now, and now NYT Cooking.

One could probably persuade me that NYT Cooking isn’t really a new launch at all, but merely a brand extension. Yes, that is probably true, but it is a start.

The launch sponsor, Chobani, will soon have its own “Recipe Card” advertising unit on both the website and iPad app containing content produced by Chobani. How readers and users of the app will feel about that will be interesting to find out. Because of this, one suspects this new project is less an editorially driven project than one coming out of the Digital Products and Services Group, and supported by the ad department.

“Cooking serves as an interactive and personalized toolkit that allows users to build their own compendium of recipes using dynamic search, custom collections and share tools. Keeping Cooking content free at launch will allow users to dive deep and explore the thousands of Times recipes and features that enrich the at-home cooking experience,” Denise Warren, executive vice president, Digital Products and Services Group, said in the company’s announcement for the app.

As for the iPad, called NYT Cooking – Recipes from The New York Times, some users have complained of having problems with crashes. I did not, but then again I only tested the app after updating my device to iOS 8. I wonder if that is the source of the problem.

The app and website are very nice and contain features such as short videos under the banner “Learn to Cook” in addition to a boat load of recipes. As a cook I am uncertain whether I will find the way the recipes are organized useful, but the app is really a shell that can be changed considerably now that it is launched.

It is important to stress that this is a start. The NYT’s reservoir of content is enormous, and there is tremendous potential here. That the paper really didn’t see this four years ago is odd, but irrelevant, I suppose. If the team that created this new app and website keep going, it is inevitable that they hit a few home runs. What one hopes, though, is that they are limited to the NYT brand as they may find that some combinations of content might lead them to thinking that an altogether new brand is the way to go. Then things get really interesting.

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