(Adds background on front-page advertising)
NEW YORK, Jan 5 (Reuters) - The New York Times NYT.N said it would sell display advertising on its front page, its latest step to seek new ways to make money as it deals with a prolonged ad revenue downturn.
The first ad, which appears at the bottom of the front page in Monday's paper, is for broadcaster CBS Corp CBS.N.
A Times spokeswoman declined to say what the paper charged for the ad and how much money the paper expects to bring in annually for the space. A CBS spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.
The ad is a rectangle across the bottom of the front page and is two-and-a-half inches high. The Times has run classified advertising on the front before, usually a few lines of text discreetly placed on the page. It was not immediately clear whether display ads have ever appeared on the front page in the paper’s history.
In the past, some papers have aroused the ire of journalism purists in academia and at papers across the country because they objected to advertising sullying a space that they thought should be used only for news.
Because of their prominent placement, these ads often can bring in much more money than ones sold inside the paper.
Some journalists at The Wall Street Journal, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp NWSA.O, objected to that paper's decision to run front-page display ads, but they are rarely remarked upon now. USA Today, the biggest U.S. paper by circulation and a property of Gannett Co Inc GCI.N, also runs front-page ads.
The Times, like other U.S. newspaper publishers, is trying to stay healthy and pay off debt even as the world financial crisis exacerbates an already alarming decline in ad revenue.
The company is trying to sell its 17.5 percent interest in the holding company that owns the Boston Red Sox, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters late last month. At least one person has approached the Times about buying The Boston Globe newspaper, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters last week. (Reporting by Robert MacMillan, editing by Dave Zimmerman)
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