Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

For Sale at the New York Times: The Front Page

The New York Times (NYT) is already trying to mortgage its headquarters and unload assets like its stake in the Boston Red Sox.

So what’s left to sell? The front page.

Today’s edition of the Times features the first display ad the paper has ever sold on its front page. We’re talking about the print edition here–the Times Web site has long been strewn with ads, including those annoying/awesome Apple (AAPL) ads that stretched across most of the front page.

Given that it’s a historic move, the ad in question is a pretty dull piece of marketing: A modest little thing promoting programming at CBS (CBS). Behold! (It’s all the way at the bottom, in case you’re confused.)

Then again, this is only historic because the Times management has been so stubborn about keeping its front page pristine. It’s hard to imagine that any reader will care.

As the Times itself informs us, The Wall Street Journal (owned by Dow Jones, which also owns this site) sold ads on its front page even prior to its acquisition by Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. (NWS); so does Gannett’s (GCI) USA Today and Tribune’s Los Angeles Times. Now the only major holdout is the Washington Post (WPO).

But the Washington Post is owned by a parent company that’s still actually relatively healthy (because it’s not actually a media company, but an education company).

And you can’t say that about the Times, which reported a miserable November and has a looming cash crunch. So if the paper can find anything else it can sell, expect to it part ways with that, too.

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