The New York Times is upping the ante in regards to its ad revenue by bringing open programmatic advertising –  a methodology that lets any advertiser buy digital ads in real-time – back to its mobile app. 

The publication shut down open programmatic ads from its mobile app in 2019 because it wanted to focus on growing subscriptions and because those ads reportedly slowed the app’s load times. The Times kept programmatic ads on its website.

The decision to expand its programmatic initiatives comes from letting some of its adtech partners sell those ads on its News app as well. The Times’ popular News app is the top free offering in the news category of Apple’s App Store.

The move shows how publishers like the Times are getting savvier about how to sell programmatic ads at scale that are still of premium quality, said Matt Barash, SVP of the Americas and global publishing at Index Exchange.

Open programmatic is also a boon for publishers during leaner times, because they attract marketers looking for ads that don’t cost a lot and are easy to buy.

During an earnings call in August 2022 the Times reported that its digital advertising business declined 2.4%, due partially to macroeconomic factors and because the publisher didn’t have enough programmatic inventory, company CFO Roland Caputo said at the time.
But this year, it’s been a different story. CEO Meredith Kopit Levien said during the company’s August earnings call earlier this year that its advertising performance surpassed expectations, and digital advertising was up 6.5%.

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