The New York Times’ in-house digital advertising studio, T Brand Studio, works with companies to create advertisements that resemble and uphold the quality of the Times’ editorial brand. The editorial staff plays no role in the creation of the ads, which are labeled “Paid Posts.” The goal is to capture attention with storytelling techniques that are both informative and entertaining, often by employing multimedia. Executive vice president for advertising Meredith Kopit Levien calls it “branded content that shares a form factor with editorial.”
Diminishing profits from print and online ads made it necessary for the Times to explore new advertising methods, publisher Arthur Sulzberger said in 2013. The New York Times lost around half of its advertising revenue between 2000 and 2013, going from $1.3 billion a year to around $666.7 million. According to Capital New York, native advertising—the industry term for this in-house approach—is the fastest-growing piece of the U.S. digital advertising market. In 2014 the Times’ sold nearly $18 million worth of native ads in over 40 campaigns, roughly 10% of its digital ad revenue. Advertisers pay anywhere from $25,000 to $200,000 per ad. And readers are spending roughly the same amount of time on advertiser-sponsored posts as on news stories, the Times says.
- In the NYT Now app, native advertisements will be the only ads shown in its news stream.
- A story on women in prison, sponsored by Netflix to promote its show, Orange Is The New Black, had “all the multimedia touches we’ve come to expect on deeply-reported features from the Times,” said Nieman Lab in June 2014.
- “Journalistic sensibilities and experience are vital to execute high quality content, so when were were staffing up we were definitely looking for experienced journalists to join our team. Writing a news story and writing a piece of sponsored content both require solid reporting and writing skills, as well as a focus on facts.” — Adam Aston, editorial director for T Brand Studio.