The Same Tech Companies Killing Print Ads Are Buying Print Ads

(Bloomberg) -- Tech giants like Google and Facebook Inc. are threatening the media business by capturing a growing share of advertising dollars.

Yet many of those companies, which made fortunes selling highly targeted online ads, have become big buyers of a decidedly low-tech medium: print advertising.

“If you look now at companies like Netflix and Google, we’re seeing our biggest print advertisers now tend to be these digitally native companies that want to announce something to the world,” New York Times Chief Operating Officer Meredith Kopit Levien said Monday at an investor conference. “So there’s irony in that.”

Despite the shifting media landscape, it’s still hard to match the prestige of the Gray Lady, Levien said.

“There are things that an ad in the New York Times does for a marketer that there isn’t another vehicle,” she said.

The Trade Desk, an online ad marketplace, bought ads in both the New York Times and News Corp.’s Wall Street Journal in September. But the tech company poked fun at its own campaign.

“Possibly the worst ad we’ll ever run,” the company said in the announcement. It then plugged its own “more targeted, data-driven approach” to buying ads.

For the Times, Silicon Valley ad campaigns may not be enough to revive the print business, which has been shrinking for years as readers move online. But it has helped stem some of the bleeding.

The Times’ print advertising revenue was roughly flat last quarter, after falling about 12 percent in the second quarter and 2 percent in the first quarter. The growth of digital subscriptions, meanwhile, has helped make investors more confident about the 167-year-old business. The stock is up 45 percent this year.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.