How much are those front-page Times ads?

January 6, 2009

Don’t ask The New York Times how much its new front-page display ads cost. The paper won’t say. That didn’t stop the New York Post from asking ad buyers. Here’s the answer based on anonymous sources:

$75,000 on weekdays and $100,000 on Sundays.

Assuming that the Post counts Saturday as a weekday, and assuming no discounts or other special deals (and assuming this blog post is not written by a reporter who nearly failed at least one high school math class), this works out to $28.6 million a year: $23.4 million for 52 weeks of Monday through Saturday and $5.2 million for a year’s worth of Sundays.

Despite the TImes’s silence, the ad cost sounds about right. The Wall Street Journal charges $90,000 for its front-page ads, not counting special discounts. Other details sound similar too. Here’s the Post:

Apparently, The Times is leveraging the front page space to get advertisers to increase their ad buys.

The paper is limiting the front page to big advertisers willing to spend more on top of their existing budgets.

A new advertiser who wants access to the space has to commit to buying the ad 26 times during the year – for a total of almost $2 million, ad buyers say. The Times has previously run classifieds on the front page.

The Journal’s program is similar: limit the front-page membership to big advertisers and get them to commit. CBS’s marketing chief George Schweitzer told us that the broadcaster has committed to a number of runs throughout the year, but declined to say more than that.

The front-page ad news, which the Times announced yesterday, might have stirred up some muttering in journalism academe like it did a few years ago when the Journal started doing it because purists aren’t crazy about sacrificing prime real estate for news on the altar of dirty profit. Nowadays, folks are a little less squeamish about making the big sale, especially when considering the health of the newspaper business.

On a side note, the Post –  now a sister paper of the Journal under New York Times enemy Rupert Murdoch — story tries to have it both ways. It notes that the Times is late to the game, yet runs a caption over a picture of black-eyed Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr that says that he is “smashing the paper of record’s vaunted Chinese wall between news and advertising by peddling front-page space.”

Apparently there’s no honorable way to make a buck in journalism.

Keep an eye on

  • CBS and Time Warner reach fresh broadcast deal. Now you can keep letting your brain atrophy on television. (Reuters)
  • Washington Post No. 2 newsman Phil Bennett resigns, goes to work on a project about the future of news elsewhere in the Post (They must have this project around for everyone they oust. Remember Susan Glasser). That keeps the paycheck coming until he gets his next job. This happens right after post.com Web chief Jim Brady splits after chafing under a new layer of management and frustration because of ongoing print-vs-Web issues. Meanwhile, new Post editor and former Wall Street Journal top editor Marcus Brauchli might bring in former colleague Raju Narisetti, late of India’s Mint business daily. Next week on 90210! (Wall Street Journal)
  • If you think that newspapers slept through technology changes in the past 50 years, you would be WRONG. Jack Shafer explains why, and does it a lot better than I’ve managed to do over countless barroom conversations with all my friends who hate newspapers. (Slate)

(Photo: “Spiderman” Alain Robert got free front-page advertising on the New York Times. Not in the paper but on the building. We recommend a different advertising strategy that won’t get you arrested. Reuters)

2 comments

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Newspapers should get paid on their quality of journalism. At this moment in the US, freedom of speech is king, being bias is the norm, but there is a line, and it is drawn between bias and extreme bias.

Extreme bias is insulting, demeaning, and derogatory not only to the journalist, the paper, and the individual that is being targeted by the journalist at that time.

Keep the freedom of speech, keep the bias, but loose the extreme bias because it does no good.

-cheers

Posted by P!NG | Report as abusive

The point is if that money (28MM dollars) will be incremental or a redistribution of current budget in NYT. They will try to get incremental budgets, but this is nearly impossible to guarantee.
Also, it will be their purpose at the begining, but their negotiation power is not likely to get better in the future.

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