Suddenly Newspapers Are Sexy

Less than a month after Google announced what it called an “alpha” test with 50 newspapers, Yahoo! has launched something more ambitious and extensive — a major partnership with seven newspaper groups that publish 176 local print editions. Those publisher groups are:

  • Belo Corp.
  • Cox Newspapers Inc.
  • Hearst Newspapers
  • Journal Register Company
  • Lee Enterprises, Incorporated
  • MediaNews Group
  • The E.W. Scripps Company

The partnership began as a way to bolster the fortunes of Yahoo!’s third-place HotJobs in a competitive online vertical and was first reported by BusinessWeek’s Jon Fine. And the new relationships will reportedly make now make HotJobs the “largest local and national jobs network,” surpassing newspaper-owned CareerBuilder the current number one site.

But jobs are the least interesting part of this deal. This has obviously evolved from original, narrower discussions into something much more interesting with much farther reaching implications for all the parties involved. This is both about technology but more interestingly it’s about creating a broad, national-local ad network and a consortium that has a powerful combination of online and offline assets.

The consortium will have a local presence in 38 states and 51 of the top hundred DMAs. The combined traffic of Yahoo! and the online sites of its newspaper partners will approach 190 million uniques. (There’s some obvious overlap there – comScore says the entire US Internet audience is 172 million.)

Newspapers have been struggling (and experimenting) with various online strategies but haven’t been able to tell the market a compelling story about the future. That’s why Knight Ridder was forced to be sold and that’s why Tribune Co. is on the block now. With this deal, the involved newspapers can now tell a potentially compelling story.

From the press release:

In another step towards creating the most comprehensive advertising network in the online industry, Yahoo! Inc. today announced a strategic partnership with more than 150 daily U.S. newspapers to deliver search, graphical and classified advertising to consumers in the communities where they live and work. Beginning with recruitment advertising, the newspapers and Yahoo! HotJobs are bringing one of the largest online audiences, targeting capabilities, local expertise and advertising power to recruiters. In addition, the consortium plans to work together to provide search, content, and local applications across the newspapers’ Web sites.

From this morning’s NY Times’ story:

During the next year, the partnership will be extended as newspapers begin displaying their news articles and local ads on Yahoo’s online network

Yahoo, in turn, will make available local event listings, maps, search technology and other content and tools on the newspapers’ Web sites. Yahoo will also use its technology to help newspaper sell online ads.

In short, newspapers get access to technology, traffic and advertising — all things they need. The partnership gives Yahoo! relationships, content and potential distribution it doesn’t have locally — and local sales channel partners.

Newspapers have been historically successful getting a huge share of budget from certain categories of advertisers (e.g., retailers). Yet they’re not getting that money online (it’s going to Yahoo!, MSN and others). For example, for the first six months, Federated (Macy’s) Dept. Stores spent almost 75% of its ad budget with local print newspapers and Sears spent about 69% with print newspapers. By contrast, in the top 20 sites where both of those retailers spent money online there was only online one newspaper site in each case.

This deal could help rectify some of those imbalances. Indeed, if well executed, this could be a success all around. I could speculate about what might concretely come of this but that’s a long digression in an already long post.

Let’s just say this is good news for the involved newspapers and for Yahoo!, which has needed some after a run of negative PR of late.

The NY Times article somewhat ironically ends with a quote from Hilary Schneider, previously with the former newspaper publisher Knight Ridder, now “marketplaces” SVP for Yahoo!: “There is significant opportunity to materially grow local advertising.”

She’s right and all sides hope this deal will do just that.


Here’s today’s WSJ (sub req’d) article on the deal.


4 Responses to “Suddenly Newspapers Are Sexy”

  1. Yahoo gets some ink on its hands too » Mathew Ingram: Says:

    […] The first thing that strikes me about the deal is that those papers aren’t exactly of the same calibre as the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune — some of the papers that Google recently did a deal with. The other thing that struck me was how all this sounds like the New Century Network, in which the Times and Knight-Ridder and Gannett tried to form an online venture that failed miserably in 1998. But hey, now newspapers are sexy, says Greg Sterling. […]

  2. Jodie Says:

    Is this that congoo group of publishers? What is the name of this new group?

  3. The Blogging Times » Yahoo Reaps Googles Sloppy Seconds Says:

    […] Center for Citizen Media, Good Morning Silicon Valley, Yodel Anecdotal, Screenwerk, Teaching Online Journalism, AdJab, Rational rants, Global Nerdy, Monkey Bites, BuzzMachine, TechEffect, Mark Evans, Paul Mooney, Fine On Media, Mathew Ingram, Digital Micro-Markets, Blackfriars’ Marketing, Listics, Search Engine Journal, John Furrier, Search Engine Watch Blog, cheezhead, The Chad, Romenesko […]

  4. Digitaler Film » Wie sozial ist Social-Media? Says:

    […] Google, Ebay und Amazon haben es vorgemacht und Online-Reisebüros, Makler und die Washington Post haben es nachgemacht: Die sozialen Kosten für eine Transaktion werden so gering wie möglich gestaltet. Qoop erstellt einen Flickr Bilderdurckservice per API ohne mit Flickr kontakt aufzunehmen. Über Google AdSense ist die Vermarktung einer Webseite ein rein technischer Vorgang und bedarf keiner sozialen Anstrengung mehr. Und dieses Prinzip wird jetzt auch auf den Print bzw. lokalen Zeitungsmarkt ausgedehnt indem Yahoo! bzw. Google die Technologie liefern, das Soziale aus dem Anzeigenverkauf zu eleminieren. Die Hoffnung dahinter ist eine effektivere Verwertung der Zeitungen und ihrer Inhalte sicher zu stellen.Das Problem der klassischen Medien, wenn sie in den Social-Media-Bereich vorstoßen, liegt genau in dieser Technologie. Ihnen fehlt meist die Antisoziale-Kompetenz (oder die Technologie). Nur die Washington Post hat bisher gezeigt, wie es gehen kann. Die WP hat nicht einfach blind Blogs in ihren Onlineauftritt integriert sondern gleichzeitig ein Werbenetzwerk für Blogs geschaffen über das sie wiederum auch – aber nicht nur – vom abgegebenen Traffic profitiert. Sie haben also dem Dialog zwischen Zeitung und Bloggern eine Antisoziale-Komponente hinzugefügt, die maßgeblich für den finanziellen Erfolg des Experiments ist. Ebay versucht gerade diese Komponente den Fernsehsendern und großen Mediaagenturen schmackhaft zu machen, indem Werbezeiten online versteigert werden. […]

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