The New York Times announced on Thursday that it will launch a redesign of its website on Jan. 8 that will include content sponsored by advertisers, a concept known as native advertising.
The site will also feature responsive design, which seeks to optimize content across various platforms, and a fresh emphasis on visuals, particularly video and photography.
The introduction of native advertising and a focus on video will seek to boost falling advertising revenue on both the print and digital sides. Online video ads have been a bright spot for media outlets trying to increase ad revenue and provide an alternative to more traditional web offerings like banner ads. Marketers have started turning to online video ads as a cheaper and more cost-efficient alternative to traditional television spots.
The redesign marks an important milestone for the sometimes-maligned strategy of native advertising. Native ads are typically comprised of content that has been paid for and created by advertisers but appears integrated into a website much like non-sponsored content.
The Times is hardly the first to use native ads. Critics have argued that native ads blur the distinction between purely editorial content and paid promotion, a split that has traditionally been a hallmark of the publishing world. The Atlantic was the subject of one of the more controversial debates over the practice after it published an article paid for and written by the Church of Scientology.
The discussion over native advertising is no longer whether the platform should be pursued, but how to do so in a way that still indicates the difference between ads and non-sponsored content. The company has revealed its plans to clearly indicate native ads with the phrase “Paid Post” as well as a unique color bar.
Sharp-eyed readers of NYTimes.com will notice the left-hand topic bar has been simplified and moved to the top. The site retains is three-column look, but the font and color of headlines will change more closely mirror the paper’s look. The screenshot on the left reflects the Times’ website on Thursday, while the one on the right shows the redesign.