More Advertisers Go Half Page

New York Times Digital isn't wasting any time getting their advertisers to buy into their new half-page ad format. The digital business unit of The New York Times Company, announced last week that it is now offering their new half-page advertising unit, launched two weeks ago with MCI as the first advertiser, on both of its sites, NYTimes.com and Boston.com.

The new ad unit comprises the equivalent of two columns on a Web page. Last week Verizon launched its half-page ad on NYTimes.com and will begin another geotargeted campaign on both NYTimes.com and Boston.com in May. Boston.com launched with TNT Vacations last week and will feature a half-page ad from Audi beginning next week.

The 336x800 pixel-sized ad unit will be the dominant advertising unit on select article pages. The larger size will allow advertisers to easily transfer print concepts to an online setting, creating interactive ads that are in alignment with the overall campaign. Sample ads can be viewed at www.nytimes.com/ads/halfpage.html or www.boston.com/halfpage.

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Aimee Reker, media director for Circle Boston, said, "The half-page ad for Verizon Business Long Distance allows us to reach business decision makers in a high-impact, respectful way within a very premium environment. We can make a more complete rational and emotional sell and deliver a better qualified prospect to Verizon, and we are already seeing strong initial results."

"We are excited about being one of the first advertisers to adopt the half-page ad," said Erin Bredemann, interactive supervisor for McKinney & Silver, Audi's ad agency. "The larger ad size provides Audi with a flexible storytelling environment to powerfully communicate its message."

The launch of the half-page ads on NYTimes.com is part of a larger article page redesign across the site. Most article pages across the site will utilize a horizontal navigation structure with a pull-down box at the top of the page, which replaces the vertical navigation bar on the left-hand side. Now, articles will run flush left on the page and the right-hand side will be devoted to half-page ads or a combination of larger ad units, skyscraper ads and other standard banner sizes.

"These ad formats provide a palette that allows the creative community to paint with the full range of emotion and branding impact," said Martin Nisenholtz, CEO of New York Times Digital.

Half-page ads are the latest innovation from NYTD, which pioneered the concept of Surround Sessions, an ad model that gives exclusive presence to a single advertiser across successive Web pages. In 2002, over 50 advertisers from the automotive, entertainment, financial services, travel and technology industries ran Surround Sessions on NYTD's sites, generating over $2.4 million in revenue for the division.

NYTD isn't alone in offering the new format. Several major publishers, including CBS MarketWatch and Forbes.com are already actively using the new format on their sites. Washingtonpost.com and several others plan to add the half-page ads to their suite of ad offerings in the near future.

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