A few days ago I knocked some numbers together to understand the new Times paywall, concluding - per Barry Collins's original observation on an old PC Pro podcast - that the strategy made most sense as part of News Corp's general content bundling approach and the intended buyout of BskyB (a conclusion which incidentally David Prosser seems to have reached independently at about the same time).
What made less sense to me was seeing a TV ad for the new Times online subscription service today, either during the break or at the end of daytime quiz show Wogan's Perfect Recall (so around 3pm this afternoon. Needless to say I wasn't really paying attention until I noticed the ad and alas didn't manage to get a photo for proof but I definitely saw the ad and it was definitely for the online product).
Quite how the ostensible ambition of extending online the long-term relationship with a valuable, Times-loyalist news audience is served by running TV ads to students and the unemployed is puzzling, and seems unlikely also to make any real commercial sense given the cost of (even daytime) TV ads, conversion rates from TV to online and the value to News Corp of Times online subscribers.
Perhaps it's a branding exercise (though that raises the question what segement of the potential Times audience doesn't already know the brand?). Perhaps I saw the only one or this is a matter of remnant inventory exchanged between C4 and News Corp on terms unfathomable to the casual observer. But it occurs to me that this is another move that makes most sense if the Times online is considered as part of an overall (£500 pa ARPU) News Corp content/ISP/TV/telephony bundle, which is the sort of thing that advertising on TV would make a bit of sense in a way that advertising an online newspaper really doesn't.