You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The New York Times Has a Commercial Scoop for Golden Globes Crowd

Longtime devotees of The New York Times read the publication for “all the news that’s fit to print.” But the company behind the outlet’s headlines wants to strike a deeper chord with readers both current and potential.

The Times will run a new TV commercial this Sunday during NBC’s Golden Globes broadcast that highlights its recent spate of scoops in the area of sexual harassment. For months, the Times has unveiled shocking allegations against luminaries such as Harvey Weinstein and Bill O’Reilly, and the coverage has helped to spur investigations of other famous people, part of a larger movement that seeks to stop harassment in industries where it has historically been tolerated and even quietly ignored. NBC’s Globes broadcast seems tailor-made for such a pitch as the entertainment and media industries have been under a microscope while revelations have swirled around producers, actors and TV-news journalists.

While The Times is proud of its journalism, it also wants to use its recent achievements to spark a different sort of movement. “The essential problem our marketing is trying to solve is that the news is a high-involvement, high-interest category, but most people in this country don’t pay for it,” said David Rubin, senior vice president and head of brand for The New York Times, in an interview. “Most people are getting their product for free. Our job is to get more people to see they need to pay for it directly.”

The new ad surfaced first on NBC’s Friday broadcast of “Megyn Kelly Today,” during which the host interviewed two Times journalists involved in recent stories about harassment, Emily Steel and Meghan Twohey.

For the past year, The Times has been acting as if it were a different kind of advertiser. Newspaper companies for decades typically relied on direct-response commercials to solicit people to buy subscriptions. The brand-building, as it were, came through the daily (now hourly or minute-by-minute) dissemination of news product. Rubin acknowledges The Times is hardly Procter & Gamble or Apple, two companies that sink hundreds of millions of dollars into TV advertising every year. But, he adds, his company can use TV commercials in strategic fashion.

“We have our share of sales and immediate offers,” says Rubin. “The big task is to get more people interested in paying for the news, and paying for our news.”  TV ads can make an impression when placed in broadcasts centered around topics related to big stories where Times journalism has dominated, he suggested. “We are not the largest spender on television,” he added. When the company does choose to run a TV ad, he said,  it would be  related “to a thing people really care about and we’ve often had a role in their caring about it.”

The key to New York Times Co.’s recent financial health has been subscriptions to its digital products. The company boasted approximately 2.49 million paid digital-only subscriptions at the end of the third quarter of 2017, representing a 59.1 % percent increase compared with the year-earlier period. But that was accompanied by a 9% decrease in overall ad revenue and a 20.1% dip in revenue from print advertising. Rubin said the company hopes its distinctive TV ads, crafted by agency Droga5, spark new conversation and interest among big audiences,  while digital and direct–response advertising prod people toward a transaction. The Times is also working with Omnicom Group media buyer Hearts & Science.

The Times has been lockstep in a growing movement. In 2017, the company ran a commercial in ABC’s Oscars broadcast for the first time talking about its efforts to find the truth for its subscribers during a time when that very thing has been stretched by the actions of the Trump administration. In October, Time Warner’s CNN launched a promotional salvo demonstrating to viewers how it focuses on facts first. One of the promos shows a stark picture of an apple on the screen, while music plays. “This is an apple,” says a narrator. “Some people might try to tell you that it’s a banana. They might scream ‘Banana. Banana. Banana.’ over and over and over again. They might put ‘banana’ in all caps. You might even start to believe that this is a banana. But it’s not,” counsels the voice. “This is an apple.”

Expect The Times to continue to use TV when appropriate, said Rubin, who indicated the company would consider specific broadcasts. “We are not advertising to drive awareness,” he said. “We are advertising to get people to realize the difference our journalism offers. We want them to support us.”

More TV

  • Willow ShieldsVariety Portrait Studio, Beautycon Festival

    'Hunger Games' Alum Willow Shields Joins Netflix Drama Series 'Spinning Out'

    Willow Shields has been cast in a series regular role in “Spinning Out,” the upcoming ice skating drama series at Netflix. She joins a cast that also includes Kaya Scodelario, who was announced as the series lead on Thursday, taking over the role originally held by Emma Roberts. Shields will star as Serena, Kat Baker’s (Scodelario) [...]

  • Adam Levine Cardi B

    Maroon 5 and How the Super Bowl Halftime Show Became Music's Least Wanted Gig

    Who would have thought that the Super Bowl Halftime show, an American institution watched by more than 100 million people, would become the least wanted gig in music? But thanks to the ongoing controversy concerning the NFL’s stance on a player’s right to protest, brought to the forefront by football’s top conscientious objector Colin Kaepernick, [...]

  • CBS Studios Exterior

    James Corden's Fulwell 73 to Develop Sci-Fi Drama at CBS (EXCLUSIVE)

    CBS is developing a drama series that hails from James Corden’s production company, Fulwell 73, Variety has learned exclusively. The series is titled “Embody.” In the series, after a mission gone wrong renders her permanently blind, a special agent volunteers for an experimental government program that can temporarily transfer her consciousness into someone else’s body, giving [...]

  • Jimmy Kimmel's Latest Trolling Effort Involves

    Jimmy Kimmel's Latest Trolling Effort Involves 'Fortnite'

    The latest request from Jimmy Kimmel asks parents to turn off the TV while kids are playing “Fortnite.” The host of Jimmy Kimmel Live explained that he asked parents to prank their kids with a new Youtube Challenge called “Hey Jimmy Kimmel, I turned off the TV during Fortnite.” Parents participated by filming the results [...]

  • Celebrities Sound Off on 2018

    Celebrities Pick Their Favorite Movies and TV Shows of 2018

    Still looking for the latest and greatest movie, TV series or book to finish before the year is out? Why not ask the folks behind Hollywood’s favorite hits, what they’re reading and viewing this 2018. We reached out to the stars and creators behind the things you love (including Barry Jenkins, Steven Canals and Dan Levy)  to [...]

  • Mary Poppins 1964

    P.L. Travers' Efforts to Adapt 'Mary Poppins' for Film, TV Were Often Less Than Jolly

    Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” a sequel decades in the making, opens Dec. 19. Even before the 1964 original, Hollywood made several attempts to adapt P.L. Travers’ books, with Samuel Goldwyn and Katharine Hepburn among those involved in the chase. But aside from a one-hour 1949 CBS television version, they all hit a dead-end. The first [...]

  • Morgan Spurlock Sexual Misconduct

    Morgan Spurlock to Pay TNT $1.2 Million After Abandoning Docuseries

    Morgan Spurlock has reached a settlement with Turner Entertainment Networks a year after he confessed to a history of sexual misconduct and walked away from a documentary series. Spurlock’s company, Warrior Poets, has agreed to pay Turner $1,173,707, according to a final judgment filed in federal court in Los Angeles on Thursday. In the spring [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content