LA Times and NBC blur editorial/advertising line


Front page ads are the new growth area for daily newspapers and yesterday’s Los Angeles Times had an ad for the debut of “Southland” on NBC across the bottom. Right next to it was a story about a new TV show called “Southland.” But wait, there’s more!

If you’ll look closely, you’ll see that a thick black line goes all the way across the top of the strip ad and over the text column to its left. What this is, in fact, is an L-shaped ad. At the top of the text portion, above the “Southland’s Rookie Hero” headline is a Peacock log and the words “NBC Advertisement.” See the LA Times front page below.

The unusual positioning of an ad that reads like a real news story – albeit a poorly written one – on the front page of a major US daily shows just how far newspapers are willing to go to attract revenues in this advertising drought.

Elsewhere in the Times was an actual review of the show. “In theory, ‘Southland’ could turn out to be a rich and textured cross between, say, ‘Hill Street Blues’ and ‘Crash’ with a little ‘Training Day’ on the side, but the pilot, for all its horrific crimes and grimy street scenes, is strangely bland. Not to mention white,” wrote critic Mary McNamara. So, she’s hoping it will get better.