Taking a page from the (mostly unproven) playbook of their American counterparts, some of the UK’s biggest newspapers are considering creating an online advertising alliance in hopes of achieving scale sufficient to compete with Google and Facebook, according to London’s City A.M., which first reported the news earlier this week.
The publishers of The Times, The Sun, The Guardian and the Daily Mail are said to be in talks to form an ad consortium that would offer advertisers massive scale for multiplatform campaigns through a single buying process.
“Project Juno,” as the effort is called, is reportedly being led by a media executive, Steve Both, chairman of British media planning and buying agency MC&C. It’s currently the subject of a feasibility study, but seems to have already secured the commitment of substantial resources from its prospective members.
As City A.M. notes, this isn’t the longtime competitors’ first foray into the sometimes fraught world of ad alliances.
Last year, The Guardian, Financial Times and Reuters joined forces to form a programmatic ad network called Pangaea, but the supercontinent-inspired sales agreement has met with only modest success.
Meanwhile, U.S. newspapers are pushing ahead with similar efforts despite the middling results of previous attempts.
In April of this year, Gannett, Tribune Publishing, McClatchy and Hearst announced the launch of Nucleus Marketing Solutions, led by Seth Rogin, formerly CRO at Mashable. Together, the partners claim to reach a combined audience of 168 million U.S. unique visitors per month, including 70% of consumers in the country’s top 30 media markets.
However, earlier iterations of newspaper ad networks fell flat. Back in 2008, Tribune joined forces with The New York Times Co., Hearst, and Gannett to launch a new network, QuadrantOne, to pool online ad inventory. The joint venture eventually rolled out programmatic ad sales, but was later shut down in 2013.