Blog Post

NYT Starts Serving Up Intrusive Ads in Its iPhone App

The New York Times (NYSE: NYT) has thrown down the gauntlet when it comes to ads on mobile apps, specifically its iPhone app. Over the weekend, it has started running roadblock interactive ads on its iPhone app, possibly the first such by a big publisher. See the attached image: that was an ad for, well, I forgot in the rush to take the screenshot, but assuming some water-related company. Dan over at SAI saw the first such run of an ad, for Visa. These interactive ads use a format by NYC-based mobile ad startup Medialets, which previously did the Dockers shakable ad earlier this year that got much press attention. Still early days on the ad, but since NYT’s one of the bigger media apps, would be interesting to get the data on interaction later down the line. The upside is this is as good a captive audience you can get in a digital medium, but risk of course is that these ads are pretty intrusive and risk irritating off some users.

9 Responses to “NYT Starts Serving Up Intrusive Ads in Its iPhone App”

  1. Abe Hendin

    Old thread, adding new fury. I subscribed to the NYTimes digital plan at $15/4 weeks, and it turns out there is no way to turn off the ads in the latest iPhone app. I can’t believe it. I expect ads to come with free readers. Subscribing should result in a new option to turn them off if I don’t want to be bothered. Yes, we accept ads in static print media–they’re easy to ignore. Yes, we expect ads on cable TV, which we pay for (haven’t had that for years, so I don’t!). But I’ve grown accustomed to the model of ads in free software, ads which are eliminated in paid software. The NYTimes apparently has decided that paying folks will put up with intrusive animated pop-ups on their tiny iPhone screens, even after they implemented paid subscriptions to access content. The kicker for me was a full-screen pop-up the other day, where I had to click “Skip this Ad” to get back to the article I was in the middle of reading when it popped up. Good grief! I don’t know about others; I myself focus on article content when I read articles, and don’t appreciate visual distraction. I’ve decided to cancel my digital subscription in protest. I guess I’ll have to forego NYTimes content, I’m sorry to say. We’d like to support the Times, but not if we’re forced to interrupt our concentration all the time. Makes reading on the iPhone a real chore, instead of the acceptable annoyance that it already is due to having to scroll all the time. I’m apparently unwilling to reserve my Times reading for web browsers in which I can block ads, and will hold out hope that enough folks will complain about intrusive ads in a now paid product that the NYTimes will relent and realize that paying subscribers should be allowed to view content without ad distraction on a tiny screen!

  2. deleted. nothing against ads but don't want to spend my time clicking them away. the embedded ones are (sort of) tolerable, but this is way over the top. the app slow and tends to crush too often to have engaging ads on top of that.

  3. Tamara Gruber

    Not quite the first, Crisp Wireless has a few roadblock ads running with major publishers including the recently announced GI Joe campaign on Fandango's iPhone optimized site.

  4. michael kremin

    I just checked out the ad. Yes, it takes us back to the pop-up ad days, but is quickly dismissed by touching the lower corner. I'd rather deal with that than pay for access directly.

  5. gregorylent

    yes, but a micro payment .. would also pay a few bucks a month to a smorgasbord of blogs and news sites .. but not a lot .. i hate ads, they are intrusive, deadening, usually of a low consciousness, and cost me time .. nyt is good, but not that good