Denise Warren Experiments at The New York Times

Gray Lady's First Ad Chief Talks About Marketplace, OnMovies and More

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NEW YORK ( -- Last June, several weeks after The New York Times Co. announced the first of what would become two rounds of job cuts, Denise Warren was named The New York Times Media Group's first chief advertising officer, responsible for ad sales at The Times, The International Herald-Tribune, and WQXR-FM, New York. The 41-year-old senior VP joined the company in 1988 and had led strategic planning for the flagship since 2001.

Denise Warren
ADVERTISING AGE: Is there a unifying strategy behind your free Thursday classifieds called "Marketplace," introduced last February; OnMovies, the free film digest for Loews theatergoers that launches Dec. 16; and Play, the sports magazine being introduced on Super Bowl Sunday?

DENISE WARREN: There is a unifying strategy but they are different products for different reasons. We know we speak to and reach a certain kind of audience. We're looking to new-product development for ways to reach that audience that are both the same and different and to ultimately enable our advertisers to speak to them.

Play will be delivered in The New York Times. There is some extra controlled distribution that we're looking at, including some distribution at sports events. That's a product targeted to our current audience and both current and new advertisers.

"Marketplace" is a little different -- it's an attempt to reach out to a different audience, although one closely tied to the audience that reads The New York Times in the New York City market. We want to generate better response for advertisers by having their ads in the paper and in a new venue. This is really just about experimentation as it relates to classified sales force and other sales force.

OnMovies is another experiment and is still relatively new. This is an opportunity to get that coverage out to a movie-going audience that may not all read The New York Times. Advertisers have stepped up -- we have a number in the first issue.

AA: Has The Wall Street Journal's "Weekend Journal" cost you any ads?

MS. WARREN: Any competitive launch of a product or section, I actually like -- it keeps us more on our toes. I can fairly confidently say we have not lost one ad to the "Weekend Journal."

AA: How important is circulation growth, or the lack thereof, to ad rates?

MS. WARREN: We're looking at our audience across media. If you look at the combined audience we've got 17 million or more users across those mediums. That's a huge growth in our reach across platforms. There are still lots of people picking up the paper and passing it along. Advertisers are buying their target audiences, so the numbers do definitely matter.

AA: Do you foresee a time when the Web site collects more ad revenue than the print edition?

MS. WARREN: We're fairly confident in the strength and health of both of our properties. They actually complement each other really well, which is one reason we created the position I hold now. The digital medium is growing very fast at The New York Times. We're experiencing the same growth trends. I don't have a crystal ball. The advertising business is cyclical. Things boom and then they bust and boom and bust, so who knows?

AA: How is The Times combating the migration of classifieds to Web sites like Craigslist?

MS. WARREN: Free classified advertising isn't something that's new. At the end of the day it's about servicing our customers as well as possible. We've got an unbelievably scrappy classified team. We had a 'Salute Our Heroes' event recently to give returning war vets a place in the job market. We had Fortune 500 companies and thousands of veterans. At the end of the day it's about matching the people who need jobs with people who have jobs.

AA: How much time have you spent talking with advertisers about the Judith Miller affair?


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