Under their agreement, Monster and the Times Co. will launch co-branded recruitment sites for 19 newspapers around the country starting in March. The sites will combine national job postings and career tools from Monster with both local and national listings from Times newspaper sites.
The Times deal is a coup for Monster--which, since last summer, has entered into partnerships with 60 newspapers in an aggressive campaign to add job listings in small and mid-size markets. The St. Petersburg Times, the Akron Beacon Journal and the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News are among other newspapers that Monster has tied up with since last year.
Monster is in a three-way race with the newspaper-owned CareerBuilder service and Yahoo's HotJobs to expand local job listings through agreements with newspapers nationwide. Yahoo became a more formidable player last November when it announced a sweeping alliance with an initial group of 175 newspapers that has since grown to about 215.
Ken Doctor, a newspaper industry analyst with Outsell, Inc., said the Times deal reflects how much the online recruitment wars have heated up in the last year. "The Times was one of the last holdouts to say they can't go it alone at this point," he said. "As big as it is, The New York Times doesn't have the same kind of marketing power a Monster does."
Since the Times itself already sells classifieds on a national basis, a big question is how the Times and Monster will handle relationships with common advertiser and employment agency clients. "It's more complicated for the Times because it's not just a local daily newspaper," said Doctor.
Dealing with larger clients will require a cooperative approach by the two sides, according to Peter Newton, senior vice president and general manager, small and medium-sized businesses, Monster North America. "We'll look at what exclusive relationships Monster and the Times have and keep those separate to help minimize sales channel conflict," he said.
Newton also said that one side may have a high-level relationship with a large customer that could be developed at the division or local branch level by the other partner. In general, he explained that Monster has experienced little overlap with its newspaper partners because they tend to have clients in different industries: Monster, with strength in sales, tech and engineering fields, and newspapers, in the health, education, and hourly service sectors.
Because of the Times' prominence in covering topics such as fashion, the arts and travel, Newton said that Monster would help the newspaper of record to develop job boards focused on those industries. The boards would be located not just on the co-branded job site but featured within the relevant editorial sections as well.
Indeed, Newton said Monster plans to use the Boston Globe's BostonWorks.com job site as a blueprint for creating content and tools tailored to specific local industries on other newspaper sites. BostonWorks, for instance, has developed considerable content and features around technology, biotech and education. "We want to turn around and offer that type of functionality to other newspaper partners," he said.
For the Times, the Monster deal is part of its wider efforts to build its digital business. "Together with Monster, The New York Times Company will significantly increase our presence in the online recruitment space as we continue to provide quality solutions and considerable value for employers and job seekers," said Times Company CEO Janet L. Robinson, in a prepared statement.
The shift toward an online future was reflected in the company's most recent earnings report. For the fourth quarter, the Times Co.'s online revenue grew 42% to $84.8 million from $59.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2005. For the full-year 2006, Internet revenues rose 41.2% to $273.9 million from $193.9 million in 2005. (Excluding an additional week in the quarter, Internet revenues grew 35.3% in the fourth quarter and 39.2% for the full year.)
The Internet's impact has been especially pronounced in classified ads. Online job listings eclipsed print newspaper ads for the first time in 2006 by $5.9 billion to $5.4 billion, according to a December report by market research firm Borrell Associates.