On a day of news, news from newspapers. The newspaper industry Yahoo!-“Amigos” consortium is now formalizing and expanding its relationship in logical ways, using Yahoo! as something of a platform. The newspapers, for Yahoo!, become a critical strategic asset as Google closes in on the display front and extends its search dominance. Who would have thought that “old” and “new” media would need each other so badly.
The Yahoo!-Amigos “network” now consists of 264 newspapers in 44 states. And it has the capacity to be “game changing” for both Yahoo! and the newspapers, depending on how it plays out. The participating newspapers are using Yahoo! as their exclusive paid-search provider and the deal. According to the release:
Yahoo! Inc. and a group of 12 leading U.S. newspaper companies today announced a definitive agreement that expands a growing partnership combining the newspapers’ unmatched local news and advertising reach with the leading technologies and audience of Yahoo!, the leading global Internet brand and one of the most trafficked Internet destinations worldwide.
With the addition of The McClatchy Company and four other new members since November 2006, the newspaper group now stands at 12 newspaper publishing companies. This represents a critical mass of more than 264 newspapers across 44 states, along with multiple distribution channels that will benefit advertisers, readers and the participating companies.
This means the Yahoo! search box makes it onto all these newspaper sites along with the ads. Graphical/display ads and targeting will also be a part of this. And local/national sales will too. Newspaper content will also be distributed throughout the Yahoo! network. The release provides more detail.
This is extremely strategic for Yahoo! (if all can be executed) and hopefully strategic for the newspapers too. It’s a bit less certain on their end. However, it does potentially solve some of the challenges they’ve had selling their traditional national advertisers online. As I said in my earlier post about McClatchy leaving “the three” (Gannett, Tribune, McClatchy):
National advertisers, which have been critical to print newspapers but have largely abandoned newspapers online, would be more inclined to reconsider given the reach of the Yahoo! consortium network. (National advertising in print newspapers was down 5.1% [per the NAA] in 2006.) Ironically Yahoo! has been the recipient of many of those national ad dollars that are migrating online because of the buying efficiency and reach Yahoo! offers.
On the “local search” front, newspapers want access to yellow pages advertisers and Yahoo! may help the newspapers offer local advertisers webhosting, locally targeted online ads and a range of other features and products that they would have trouble offering on their own. And one cannot stress enough the in-market presence of a local sales force.
From the release:
This relationship creates an all-in-one buying opportunity for local advertisers, allowing newspaper sales representatives to offer the combined aggregated reach of local newspaper and local Yahoo! online audiences. Yahoo!’s sales force may sell newspaper inventory to their portfolio of national advertisers and newspapers’ sales forces can sell Yahoo!’s local online inventory to local advertisers.
(My emphasis.) There’s a good deal more to say but time is short right now.
Even though I’m sure the timing wasn’t planned this way, this is Yahoo!’s indirect answer to Google-DoubleClick. Another angle I forgot about: DoubleClick serves ads on newspaper sites. The Yahoo! deal is exclusive and so over time DoubleClick will go away. I don’t know the % or dollars associated with DoubleClick ad serving on newspaper sites.