Washington Post gives in on 1A advertising

The Washington Post will join the growing trend among American newspapers of running front-page advertising when it publishes a display ad at the bottom of 1A next Sunday, Michael Calderone writes in Yahoo’s The Upshot blog.

The Post previewed the move last Sunday with an A-section spadea – a single-fold advertisement wrapped around the section – sponsored by Capital One that covered half of the front and all of the back of the section in D.C.-metro editions. It was a first for the newspaper.

“[T]he Post has been something of a holdout from the general embrace of front-page newspaper ads, as advertising revenue has sharply dropped for all print publications in recent years,” Calderone says. “Several major newspapers now run front-page display ads, including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times — with the latter paper starting to run front-page ads just last year.”

The Post’s first dip into the water will be a 2-inch high banner at the bottom of the page.

McClatchy newspapers, including The News & Observer in Raleigh and the Charlotte Observer, routinely run 1A ads across the bottom of the page, as well as removable stickers with advertising at the top of the front page.

For generations newspapers have avoided running advertising on the front page because doing so indicated the newspaper’s voice and identity, and thus its credibility, were for sale.

“But harsh economic struggles have forced newspaper companies to get more creative when it comes to generating revenue,” Calderone says. “And with its inaugural front-page ad scheduled for next Sunday, the Post is showing that it’s no exception.”

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