VillageVoice.com Redesigns To Woo Advertisers

New York City’s venerable alternative newsweekly, the Village Voice, has launched a redesign of its Web site that places all content into seven major sections, which will be updated daily. Executives believe the changes will help increase the site’s online ad revenues by 50 percent over the next year.

“In print, of course, The Village Voice is a weekly,” said Kara Walsh, VP of The Village Voice Online. “The redesign helps us continue the transformation of our online presence to that of a daily. Our goal is to increase our number of unique users, pageviews and impressions through a better advertising environment that will increase our overall ad revenues.”

The site, which draws approximately 1.6 million unique users a month, now offers all ad sizes within the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s standard ad package as well as a variety of rich media formats, including Unicast and EyeBlaster.

Advertisements appear on all of four types of pages on the Web site, including the homepage, the seven section homepages, individual article pages, and the search pages.

“Ads appear on basically all pages,” Walsh said. “The only pages they do not appear on are the fill-out pages for entering a classified online.”

The home page features a 484 x 230 position on the upper left portion of the screen, and one skyscraper ad on the lower right portion of the screen. The homepage also includes contextual text ads, provided by Google, in an AdWords box on the right-hand portion of the screen.

All non-Google ads are priced on a CPM basis. While the Voice is currently “not receptive” to offering its own CPC/CPA pricing structures, in some individual cases it might consider offering such arrangements at a later date, Walsh said.

Ads are primarily targeted according to the content area of the site — news, NYC life, music, film, arts, people and classifieds — each of which has its own demographic profile. The Voice also plans to have geo-targeting options in the next two months. While it does not yet offer behavioral targeting features, the Voice is currently in discussions with 24/7 Real Media, Tacoda and other vendors, one of whom it will tap to launch a behavioral targeting feature within the next year, Walsh said.

The Voice, which already lists American Express, along with alcohol, credit card and pharmaceutical companies among its list of national advertisers, is hoping to make its site more attractive to a larger group of local advertisers as well.

“In our print version, we have always had strong local retail advertising,” Walsh said. “One major goal of the redesign is to move more of that advertising online.”

As part of the overhaul, the Voice has expanded its entertainment and shopping listings from 2500 to 12,000 listings.

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