The NY Times has managed to break its own story, noting that today – Monday, January 5th – marks the first time that the paper will sell significant advertising space on its front page. The horizontal color ad, consuming 2 1/2 inches of space at the bottom of the page, has been purchased by CBS and marks a growing trend among print newspapers struggling with lower readership and advertising dollars to find new ways to generate revenue in tough economic times.
Most major American papers sell front-page display ads, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and The Los Angeles Times, but some others, including The Washington Post, do not.
The Times would not disclose the rates it charges for ads on the front page. Ordinarily, such space would be coveted by advertisers for its prominence, but it remains to be seen how well it will sell in the current climate, in which ad spending is plummeting.
Given that 2008 saw the web pass print media as a primary news source for the first time, we imagine that most people are already well accustomed to a heavy incidence of advertising and won’t be bothered by this move. That being said, without the story, we’re curious to know how many NY Times readers were even aware of the change in format?