Gannett, Yahoo Widen Ad Alliance

Kare11

Gannett Co. and Yahoo are expanding a local advertising partnership under which the media company's newspapers and TV stations sell Yahoo inventory as part of their digital ad offerings. The companies will extend the year-old deal from nine to all of Gannett's 19 broadcast markets nationwide. It already covers Gannett's 81 local newspapers around the country.

Under the agreement, the company's TV stations and newspaper sites package Yahoo ad space with their own online inventory, using Yahoo's APT platform to deliver targeted display advertising. At the same time, Gannett provides editorial content across Yahoo properties, including the home page.

Gannett's ad pact with Yahoo currently involves its TV station sites in Atlanta; Cleveland; Denver; Grand Rapids, MI; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Phoenix; St. Louis; Tampa; and Washington, D.C.

The expanded deal will add mid-tier markets, including Bangor, ME; Buffalo; Columbia, SC; Greensboro, NC; Jacksonville, FL.; Knoxville, TN; Little Rock; Macon, GA; Portland, ME; and Sacramento. 

Anthony Diaz, vice president of sales strategy and development at Gannett Broadcasting, said the Yahoo alliance has helped the broadcast stations increase digital ad sales 30% in the second quarter from a year ago. In particular, he cited the targeting capability the Web portal offers for reaching specific audiences, based on extensive demographic and behavioral data.

"We saw a nice uptick in our ability to drive results, based on this additional layer of targeting that we drove into our overall mix," he said. "As we've gotten into deeper layers of targeting, our CPMs have increased."

Diaz noted that the broadcast sites have also drawn ad dollars from categories such as health care that don't typically advertise on on-air as heavily as segments like automotive. One campaign for a medial weight-loss center on Gannett station KARE11 in Minnesota, for instance, launched on TV, but also tapped Yahoo's system to hone in online audiences interested in health and wellness topics.

Gannett uses APT to serve ads on Yahoo inventory and deliver ads on its broadcast sites.

In addition to bringing more refined targeting, the alliance also expands reach in local markets for both Gannett and Yahoo. "A large part of the partnership is having local TV stations be able to sell a much wider audience on the Web in their local markets," said Lem Lloyd, vice president, North American sales channel for Yahoo.

Between them, he said the companies reach about 95% of local audiences. "For us at Yahoo, we're seeing a lot of new local advertising on our site because of this partnership," he added. Details of the ad revenue-sharing arrangement between Yahoo and Gannett have not been disclosed.

Total digital advertising sales -- encompassing display and video -- for TV stations last year grew 14% to $1.4 billion, accounting for 10.5% of local online ad spending, according to Borrell Associates. The media research firm projects a 17% increase in local online revenue for TV broadcasters this year.

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