One of the greatest difficulties the New York Times has had in the digital era, is how to deal with online advertising. Searching for a way to make the content interesting and interactive, the company launched a new ad platform last week in conjunction with its digital archive TimesMachine. The National Geographic Channel was the first to test road the platform, using the April 15, 1865 headline to advertise its first original drama, Killing Lincoln.
The advertisement is a custom built interactive unit, that uses the overlay of the 1865 issue and is clickable, leading to both video content for the show and the TimesMachine archive for issues around that time period. Says Todd Haskell, Times Group VP of Advertisting:
We’re increasingly seeing that advertisers want to tell more complicated stories online, and readers seem to love these types of executions when they’re done well.
This seems to mitigate the annoyance of being forced to view an ad just by arriving on the NYTimes.com site.
TimesMachine includes back issues from 1851 to 1922, and its use could be profitable for a number of historical shows and films such as Boardwalk Empire or The Great Gatsby. In this case, the advertising could be considered successful because The National Geographic Channel pulled its highest ratings ever for a scripted drama on the Sunday night premiere, with over 3 million people tuning in.