In Europe, the New York Times Switched From Ad Exchanges to Direct Selling, and Grew Revenue

Jessica Davies, Digiday:

When the General Data Protection Regulation arrived last year, The New York Times didn’t take any chances.

The publisher blocked all open-exchange ad buying on its European pages, followed swiftly by behavioral targeting. Instead, NYT International focused on contextual and geographical targeting for programmatic guaranteed and private marketplace deals and has not seen ad revenues drop as a result, according to Jean-Christophe Demarta, svp for global advertising at New York Times International.


The New York Times has 2.9 million paying digital subscribers globally, and 15 percent of the publisher’s digital news subscribers are from Europe. Digital advertising in Europe also remains an important revenue stream for the publisher. The publisher’s reader-revenue business model means it fiercely guards its readers’ user experience. Rather than bombard readers with consent notices or risk a clunky consent user experience, it decided to drop behavioral advertising entirely.

It’s worth noting that there are few web properties with the brand clout of the New York Times. Direct selling may not be a realistic solution for all websites — including, I should say, this one. There should be a more direct relationship between the publisher and the advertiser, while still preserving editorial independence. Where direct selling is not viable, ad exchanges should exist that carefully vet ads and are not dependent on behavioural targeting; the Deck was ahead of its time.

But this report demonstrates that third parties are still interested in buying advertising, even when they can’t have their adtech toys. That’s great news. Let’s have more of this.