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