Includes sample of new ad format

NYTIMES.COM TO OFFER HALF-PAGE WEB ADS

Reader Reaction Not Yet Clear

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Come April, marketers will have a large new tool at their disposal to reach
Click to see sample of new ad format.

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readers of NYTimes.com.

The New York Times Co.'s New York Times Digital is selling advertisers half-page ad units that take up two of the site's four columns. The half-page units have the look and feel of magazine ads and strive for a print-style reading experience. The site's navigation bar will run along the top of the Web page.

Marketers are positive
"We've shown it to a number of marketers and have received positive reactions to it. ... They definitely got it," said Craig Calder, vice president of marketing, New York Times Digital. Mr. Calder declined to specify marketers that saw the ad mock-ups, but said auto, retail and financial services advertisers expressed interest.

It is not yet clear how readers will respond to ads that take up half the screen of their news pages.

Mr. Calder said the ad unit will be offered in addition to the large ad formats recommended by the Internet Advertising Bureau and can be used in conjunction with any of those formats and NYTimes.com's Surround Sessions, which has a cost-per-thousand of $75. Although no rates have been set, NYTimes.com plans to sell the units at a premium price.

"These half-page units will be part of a marketer's campaign; they give advertisers an opportunity to have a bigger canvas," he said, and hopefully, a more creative one.

Typically, digital creatives are constrained in executing online campaigns in smaller ad units.

Confusing to readers?
The half-page concept began as NYTimes.com set about redesigning its article pages to make them more like print ads. But will the articles next to half-page ads confuse readers?

"This unit in particular, makes it very clear that there is a separation between the ad and editorial. ... It's a very clear line," Mr. Calder said. "It's similar to a print experience."

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