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Aug. 8, 2016, 1:23 p.m.
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LINK: www.nytco.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Shan Wang   |   August 8, 2016

The New York Times announced the launch (in closed beta) of its movies-and-TV recommendation site Watching on Monday. It started heading toward this point earlier this summer, with a twice-a-week newsletter by TV critic Margaret Lyons. Alas, for eager movie and TV nerds among us, the platform is still in closed beta, available only to “select NYTimes.com registered users,” as well as a “limited number of users who sign up to the Watching beta waitlist,” according to a statement from The Times. If you’re interested, you can sign up for the waitlist here, and “potentially be granted access” down the line. (We reached out for more details and will update this post when we know more.)

Watching follows the model of other efforts spearheaded by the Times’s Beta team, such as The New York Times en Español, dedicated food and recipe offering Cooking, and its first release, the well used but hard-to-monetize NYT Now. The ideal trajectory for these types of projects: attract new readers in these new coverage areas, get them hooked, and convert them into paying subscribers.

nyt-watching-movie-site

The site currently includes both a blog-like list of recommendations based on a variety of criteria and a navigational tool that tries to lead you to one or more specific choices. (Are you in the mood for: Quirky? Binge-Worthy? Oscar-Winning? Family-Friendly? Strong Female Lead?) For instance, if you choose “Joke-Heavy” and then genre “Comedy,” skipping out on subgenres, you get 68 recommendations ranging from contemporary (BoJack Horseman, Fresh Off the Boat, Last Week Tonight) to classics (M*A*S*H, The Carol Burnett Show, Young Frankenstein). (If you want a joke-heavy drama, Watching recommends only The Bob Newhart Show, which one presumes is a bug.)

From the statement about the launch of Watching (beta):

There are more TV shows and movies to watch than ever before, and more platforms — both big and small — through which to watch them. Led by television editor Gilbert Cruz and Mehdi Sanoh, product director for NYT Beta, Watching serves as a guide to the movies and TV shows worth, well, watching. Through a combination of short, entertaining recommendations and a guided discovery experience, Watching provides users with the ability to quickly find, save and refer back to the shows and movies that are right for them. It also provides essential information on which streaming services and VOD platforms offer series or films, basic information that is still difficult to find.

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