In a bid to boost its digital revenue, the Los Angeles Times has struck a deal with Arkadium, a major online game developer, to add more than two dozen games to that section of its Web site.
This will add diversions like Mahjongg Dimensions, complete with Twitter and Facebook integrated, to a vertical of the site that already includes activities such as crossword puzzles and Sudoku.
The audience of the Times’ site has grown substantially this year, reaching more than 17 million unique visitors a month. However, for many newspapers, the problem at the moment is that even increases in online traffic have not let to increases in advertising revenue.
Whether games are an effective method of changing that remains unclear, but this deal is a small step in trying to widen the digital revenue stream.
“Given the ever-rising popularity of casual games, adding Arkadium’s titles allows us to further engage latimes.com’s users and entice previously untapped gaming enthusiasts to visit our site throughout the day,” Jennifer Collins, the Times’ Vice President for Digital Revenue Products, said in a statement. “We are also creating a previously unavailable opportunity for our advertisers to reach Southern California’s casual gaming audience and in the process establish another digital monetization platform.”
Collins statement makes the two motives quite clear -- that these games bring more users each day, and that those customers stick around and get sucked in by advertisements.
The Times hired Collins in late November as part of an overhaul of its digital revenue team. Both she and Andrea Nunn were hired while three other employees were promoted to either fill new spots or replace individuals who left.
At the time, John O’Loughlin, the Times’ chief revenue officer and executive vice president for advertising sales indicated that the Times was looking for new methods to court advertisers on mobile, social and other platforms.