The New York Times is extending its brand into the burgeoning medium of video ad networks. Through a partnership with RMG Networks, the paper will become the sole brand on RMG’s Urban Mobile Network, launching Monday (March 1). Known as NYTimes.com Today, the brand will reach across 850 screens in cafes and eateries in New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, reaching 6 million consumers monthly.
By the end of the year, the partners intend to double the reach of the network by expanding into additional markets and heavying up in existing markets. RMG is in negotiations with several national chains to bring NYTimes.com Today into markets such as Washington, D.C.
RMG will sell the ad inventory on NYTimes.com Today, which includes standard IAB ad units as well as 30-second full-screen spots, each with a 14-minute content loop. Stories refer viewers to a mobile WAP site, www.NYT2Day.com.
It’s no secret newspapers are working hard to go digital in order to offset print losses. A lot of publishers provide content for video ad networks, but only one other paper, The Wall Street Journal—which operates The Wall Street Journal Office Network in the lobbies of 750 office buildings in 16 markets—has a branded network.
Like other print publications, the New York Times is trying lots of digital options. “We are always looking for opportunities to get our brand and our content wherever there are consumers. This is a good opportunity in a new medium,” said Murray Gaylord, vp of marketing for NYTimes.com and customer insight group for New York Times Media Group, which offers its brand online, in apps for iPhone, Palm and Blackberry; and is gearing up for e-Readers.
The New York Times video ad network will look like the homepage of NYTimes.com, but also have elements of a TV channel. For the New York Times, the network is more of a branding than a revenue play .
“We’ll promote some of our products. We’re not expecting it to be a huge revenue driver for us. We can reach a different audience,” Gaylord said.
RMG had been programming the Urban Network using content from a variety of sources, including The New York Times, Associated Press and the San Francisco Chronicle. The
network wasn’t profitable, but “close to profitable,” said Gary McGuire, CEO of RMG.
“We did a lot of Nielsen research and we discovered that a weakness was that the content was king,” McGuire said.
A New York Times-branded network will also change the advertising mix on the network, which was primarily supported by local advertisers.
“We can segment down to the street level, but the NYT has brought along a lot of national advertisers that want to extend in this environment. At launch, we believe it will be a 50/50 mix between national and local,” McGuire said.
NYTimes.com Today is one of three networks operated by RMG.