Yahoo Adds Newspaper Publishing Partners To Ad Network

Deepening its ties with the newspaper industry, Yahoo has added four new publishing partners--McClatchy Co., Media General Inc., Morris Communications Company LLC, and Paddock Publications Inc.--to an existing coalition concentrated on classified advertising, content sharing, and search.

Yahoo is also taking its publisher partnerships past their initial phase of selling help-wanted ads to now integrate its search technology across the sites of the more than 264 newspapers spread across 44 states nationwide, representing a combined total of more than 50 million unique online users.

Initially, Yahoo allowed newspapers' help wanted ads to post classifieds on Yahoo HotJobs, while the papers' online career sections were powered by HotJobs.

Yahoo's original consortium, announced in November, encompassed 176 newspapers controlled by MediaNews, Belo Corp., Cox Newspapers, Hearst Newspapers, Journal Register Company, Lee Enterprises, and the E.W. Scripps Company.

McClatchy--which owns the Miami Herald and the Sacramento Bee, among other newspapers--abandoned an online ad partnership with Tribune Co. and Gannett Co. to join the Yahoo group.

"We expect other newspaper companies will be joining in the near future, and they will be welcomed as allies," Gary Pruitt, chairman, president and chief executive officer of McClatchy, offered by way of an olive branch. "The consortium also demonstrates that our members recognize this plan delivers significant benefits to our advertisers and readers."

In addition, Yahoo will now carry partner papers' local news stories on its network, sell their local ads online, and allow publishers to use its graphical ad technology on their local news sites.

Beyond general revenue-sharing agreements, financial terms of the deals between Yahoo and publishers remain confidential.

In late March, McClatchy announced a deal with Yahoo to allow news stories and certain online-only material produced by four of McClatchy's eight foreign bureaus to appear on Yahoo.

Yahoo is not the only search company seeking local ad revenues through publisher relationships. Late last year, Google also unveiled plans to sell print ads in 50 major newspapers, including publications owned by Gannett, The Tribune Company, and The New York Times Co.

Working with Yahoo and its rivals opens the door for newspapers to online ad revenue after years of losing market share to portals and free listings sites like Craigslist.

The consortium represents "the newspaper industry's first full-fledged integrated online advertising network," according to Robert Decherd, chairman and CEO of Belo Corp.

The original HotJobs agreement, which grew out of an existing partnership of Yahoo with Belo and MediaNews, was intended to help HotJobs better compete with Monster and CareerBuilder, which have dominated online employment listings.

Yahoo's growing cabal of newspaper partners widens an existing rift in the industry between the group and two of the biggest publishers nationwide, Gannett Co. and Tribune Co. Tribune and Gannett have been working to form a separate national network for selling advertising online.

Gannett and Tribune are also the largest owners of HotJobs rival CareerBuilder. (McClatchy owns a minority stake in CareerBuilder, so will therefore not be using Yahoo's HotJobs service.)

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