The New York Times has realized that newspapers and magazines can't wait for Madison Avenue to create lucrative new ad models online. The paper is leading a charge among big newspapers
and magazines to create digital ads that interweave marketing images with editorial content and respected journalism brands.
In the past month, the Times has unveiled a real-time news wire feature wrapped in ads for software outfit SAP. It has also crafted a Web campaign for the AMC series Mad Men, which includes a mini-archive of Times articles about the show within the ad unit.
Online ads are usually direct response ads delivered by automated advertising brokerages. They aren't customized for the Web site on which they appear and generate puny revenues for publishers. Michael Zimbalist, NYT R&D chief, says his team has learned that advertisers are frustrated with the temporary nature of typical ad placements and need long-lasting tools for distributing their premium ad purchases across the broad Web. "We have to give advertisers an opportunity to market through the content, not just around it," he says.