Inside T Brand Studio, The New York Times’ native ad unit

In introducing the Times’ first native ad product, the publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, sent employees a letter that read more like an apology than a new product announcement. The ad product may be “relatively new and can be controversial,” Sulzberger wrote in his letter, but is necessary to help “restore digital advertising revenue to growth.”

The first such Paid Post, a collection of freelanced stories from Dell that launched in January, was conservative in both labeling and content.

“We were happy with it,” said Sebastian Tomich, vp of advertising. “But once we proved we could get the platform right, we wanted to look at how we could up our game with the content.”

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