The move could work both ways, giving Google a greater pool of local advertisers, while H-A gains an opportunity to benefit from the mushrooming local search advertising arena.
On one level, the deal takes H-A far afield from its core business of selling spots on its 29 stations. Yet, synergies come as its sales force can now offer, say, a local auto dealer or retailer access to arguably one of the most efficient online marketing options--along with the on-air spots, a presence on station Web sites and exposure elsewhere.
Details of the H-A agreement with Google were not released.
AdWords looks to display relevant ads alongside results as a user runs a search on Google. A business can bid on a keyword linked to their operations, and pay only when an ad is clicked on.
H-A has been aggressive in expanding beyond the TV screen by attempting to build robust Web sites affiliated with its stations, cutting a separate revenue-sharing agreement with Google's YouTube and through other initiatives. Still, digital revenues make up only a fraction of its overall take--even as some contend that advertisers will increasingly shift spending off local stations.
"This is a terrific partnership to expand the digital suite of solutions we provide our advertisers," said Terry Mackin, H-A executive vice president. "This entry point to the local search market complements our existing digital media efforts which include local content, social networking and being a primary destination in all our markets on 'all three screens'."
Eric Stein, director of local markets at Google, said: "Now, local marketers will also have access to an additionally efficient and cost-effective way to reach customers on the Internet and help drive their continued success online."