NYT’s Zimbalist: Redesigned Site Wants Sophisticated Paid Posts

By on 01/08/2014 1:31 PM @robertandrews

LAS VEGAS — The New York Times’ web redesign on Wednesday opened the site up to paid articles from sponsors – but a distinction will always be clear and the publisher wants only “sophisticated” examples of the format including video, the exec in charge tells Beet.TV.

“We are going to give marketers a platform to publish their content on to the New York Times domain,” says Michael Zimbalist, NYT’s SVP of ad products and R&D. “It’s not off to the side in an advertising unit, it’s in the flow – but in a very unique distinct way so that it will never confuse a reader.”

New York Times Paid Post

“Sponsored content”, “branded content” or “native advertising” have lately been mooted as a win-win media funding model for marketers trying to stay ahead of the digital din and for publishers finding it harder to sell display ads whose effectiveness is falling.

Its redesign makes The New York Times the latest after Forbes, The Atlantic, Washington Post and others to offer the opportunity, which it’s calling “Paid Posts”.

Amongst the first customers is Dell. Each of its series of paid articles is laid out differently to the site’s in-house editorial so perhaps appears more clearly delineated than initiatives of similar publishers. Zimbalist says the Times, which many look to as a bastion of journalistic integrity, will be “super-, super-vigilant” about making the distinction.

“Native content that comes from brands might be text and images, might be video, might be data visualisation,” he says.

“We are deliberately being selective and working with those brands that are the most sophisticated, creating content that is high-level, explanatory – that’s going to appeal to our audiences.”

Beet.TV interviewed Zimbalist at the MediaLink CMO party at the Consumer Electronics Show.

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