Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How's Times Skimmer Doing? One Bad Sign -- NYT Can't Seem To Find Anyone To Advertise On It.

On December 2, 2009, the NYT Media Group's chief advertising officer, Denise Warren, announced the launch of "Times Skimmer,"a new NYT application designed to mirror the experience of reading the print edition -- and to showcase a "custom advertising position" for an ad that would turn up on every page.

Just one problem. The NYT can't seem to sell the ad space to anyone.

We haven't been keeping track on a daily basis, but we've noticed on several occasions recently that the primo ad space on Times Skimmer often goes to a NYT house ad.

As most readers know, running a NYT house ad is basically like saying, we couldn't get anyone to spring for the space.

It's a nice spot, too. The news release described the advertising hole as "integrated into the design to move seamlessly with the layout and navigation." Meaning that even if you switch pages, the ad comes with you.

The NYT has stuffed the print edition with house ads lately. Full-page ads offer oddball items like Grateful Dead memorabilia -- you can buy a Grateful Dead “Skeleton & Roses” limited-edition lithograph, signed by Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley, at the NYT store right now for only $1,495! Another recent full-page ad pushed the NYT's bizarre entry into the sale of "patent models," some for more than $1,000.

But seeing an ad for the NYT's real estate section -- right there on the front page of Times Skimmer, where the NYT probably hoped to place a Prada purse or Tag Heuer watch -- suggests just how deep this recession has cut into the NYT's ad business, including online.

Frankly, it got us depressed. We want the NYT to succeed.

By the way, we're thinking the fact that the NYT can't sell a single ad for its free Times Skimmer -- meant to be a major part of the paper's online presence -- doesn't bode well for the NYT's advertising prospects once it moves the editorial content behind a paywall next year.


Anonymous said...

--doesn't bode well for the NYT's advertising prospects once it moves the editorial content behind a paywall next year.--

Duh? The reason the NYT is moving behind a paywall is that advertising isn't paying enough to support the newsroom. Even dramatic cuts wouldn't make it work. I know that every writer wants to be widely read, but there's a huge oversupply of advertising in the world. Professional content can't compete against the casual content tossed off by Facebook and MySpace users. As long as those sites offer nice advertising platforms without paying to create the content, they'll be able to underbid the NYT and other professional content organizations forever.

Unless advertisers are willing to pay a big premium for putting their content next to NYT articles, the NYT has to look elsewhere. Alas, it seems like they're only willing to pay a small premium and that's not enough to pay people to write stuff to the expectations of people like the NYTPicker.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. I never heard of Times Skimmer. It looks like the great Times Reader, which I LOVE.

However, why would anybody want to use an online browser-based Times Skimmer when you can just go to the website and read?

Times Reader is good because you can download the whole paper and read it offline, such as on the train (which is what I do).

Anonymous said...

I don't know many people who use the skimmer which is probably why it can't attract ads. But the overall NYT website attracts plenty of readers and viewers and does attract ads.

Anonymous said...

from one anonymous bozo to another:

no follow up on the advertiser that is now running in times skimmer?

would u rather nothing new is tried btw? it's called taking risks and building + experimenting with new ways to distribute content (as no one knows which will emerge as the dominant format)

if you knew anything at all about how the nyt is layed out you might understand why house ads appear in the paper. at the nyt news goes on the page first and the ads fill in around the news. every other newspaper in existance puts the ads on the page first and news fills in around the ads. (did you ever think why there is so much wire copy in other papers? hello anyone home? it's filler)

so now that you might have a clue as to why there are house ads in the paper...another question; would you rather generic filler house ads or house ads that tout nyt archive products and content for sale that at least can bring in additional revenue for the company? (using the house space effectively)

sorry time for nytpicker to comment on advertising anyway. the first quarter of the year was very successful-for print, online, and mobile platforms. you, who ever you are, missed the real story.