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New York Times Advertising Rates and Where to Place Ads

Last summer I picked apart a Sunday edition of the New York Times print newspaper with an eye on learning where people like to place their ads.  Which sections carried which types of ads?  What does ad specificity predict should be the New York Times advertising rates?  I’ve been sitting on the data for lack of time to share it.  Here you go:

Section NameAds SeenFocused?
TravelHotels, travelingYes
Arts & LeisureTicketed eventsYes
NYTimes MagazineBusiness topicsYes
Real EstateBrokers, apartments for rentYes
Sunday StylesFashion (exclusively!)Yes
MetropolitanMusic, mattresses, closets, air conditionersNo
Book ReviewNew books, kindle, wine clubYes
Sunday ReviewShell gas, jobsNo
Sunday BusinessBlackberry, auctions, iPhone appYes
SportsWatches, golf help, event tickets, NYTimesNo, thin
Main SectionCiti, Dior, Bloomingdales, Cartier, luxury jewelry, watches, clothing, AT&T, Starbucks, BMW, Sony, Chiropractors, theatre events, mattresses, NYTimesNo

Where to Place Ads

You can see that some sections have obvious alignment with the ads people choose to place there.  The travel section has ads for hotels and travel services.  Duh.  Four of the sections surprised me for their lack of ad-content synergy.

  • The Metropolitan section was home goods and music.
  • The Sunday Review had a corporate PR piece by Shell Gas along with some job opportunities.
  • The sports section was thin on ads and had at least one (I feel like possibly two) New York Times fillers saying, basically, “your ad here.”
  • The main or front section of the paper — not sure what it’s called — had a lot of very expensive items being advertised, along with mattresses.  That tells you how much money there is in mattresses.

New York Times Advertising Rates

I guessed that the demand for ad space ought to correlate with the specificity of ads in that section.  Anyone selling mattresses in the Real Estate section would probably be out-bid by brokers and landlords pushing their better-aligned services.  Was that true?

The New York Times rate cards offer different charges for different types of content.  Presumably this offers a way to improve ad relevancy.  Here were the 2013 rates for half page ads (63 contract column inches), in black and white, run-of-the-paper (can be placed anywhere), with New York regional distribution (if applicable):

Section NameGeneral Open RateFocused Open Rate
Book Review$24,200$20,625 (small press)
New York Times Magazine$43,640n/a
Sunday Business$43,640$57,960 (cause and appeal)
$65,457 (mortgages)
$83,160 (security financial notices)
$97,902 (banks, credit cards)
Real Estate$80,136$53,424 (commercial or residential real estate)
$65,457 (mortgages)
Travel$43,640$72,639 (tours, transportation, resorts, hotels)
Automotive, Sports, and Metro$53,613$28,791 (dealers)
Arts and Entertainment$43,640$47,376 (local live entertainment)
$48,762 (restaurants)
$58,905 (fine arts, antiques)
$63,693 (movies)

The New York Times reports that their audience is about 5,000,000 readers.  That puts the Cost Per Mille at $10, which is in the range of what I’d expect.

I expected that more specific ads would cost more.  That turned out to be true for the Business, Travel, and Arts sections.  These ads were highly focused, and the advertisers there paid dearly to appear.  Clearly those advertisers were interested in those sections.

But for the Book Review, Automotive, and especially Real Estate sections, it cost less to list a specific ad than a generic one.  If there had been any takers for generic ads, the New York Times would have run those ads preferentially for revenue’s sake.  No takers.  So I would guess that “ad relevance” was the goal in lowering these section’s prices.  Surprising?  Apparently New York real estate, for one, needs little advertising.  I believe it.

Except for the metropolitan section, the sections that weren’t highly focused apparently don’t have separate rate cards, which means someone purchasing a “run of the paper” ad in a listed section probably had their ad bumped elsewhere.  That would explain the randomness of these sections.  For the Metro section, you can see the price is much lower than anywhere else.  That explains the randomness here, for sure.


This gives an idea of where you might place your ad, if you’re thinking about advertising in the New York Times.  Advertising rates are comparable to online advertising, although the breadth of readership clearly requires more up-front commitment than a Google AdWords campaign.

For full rate cards, visit the New York Times media kit.