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Four Major Newspapers Form Local Ad Network: quadrantONE

Posted by Dan Vigil on February 16, 2008

quadrantone.jpg 

The Tribune Company, the Gannet Company, the Hearst Corporation and the New York Times announced the formation of a new company called quadrantONE today. The company will allow national advertisers to reach local markets without working through a media buyer. In their press release, the company claims that they can reach 50 million unique visitors each month through a network of over 120 local news websites including the LA Times (click here for a complete affiliate list).

The move is likely in response to forward progress being made by the Yahoo Newspaper Consortium, although some of quadrantONE’s sites are also members of the consortium. The major advantage to advertisers is “guaranteed” inventory, something the Yahoo network doesn’t offer.  Each of the four newspapers has agreed to “transfer” a portion of the inventory to the new company, making the inventory available immediately to advertisers.

Here’s a few thoughts and ideas for local newspapers that this venture brings to light:

1. Keep focusing on LOCAL advertisers:

While quadrantONE may provide an outlet for national brands it still has yet to define what kinds of advertising it will be supporting. There’s no mention in their press release of contextual advertising or behavioral targeting so the company will most likely sell standard display(banner) ads. The list of sites does include “local” venues but many sites (e.g. LAtimes.com) have a significant amount of “national” traffic. Local newspapers should stay laser focused on acquiring local advertisers and revenue. Let the watered down national plays figure themselves out, there’s profit to be had at the local level. 

2. Leverage Technology Relationships:

Today in the Industry Standard Jeremy Kirk observed: “QuadrantONE is most notable for the online players that aren’t participants, such as Google, Yahoo or Microsoft. ” Without the support of a key technology partner, it will be difficult for quadrantONE to provide a system for delivering ads across all the newspaper sites on its affiliate list. By contrast, the consortium provides newspapers with access to Yahoo’s ad delivery systems which include some of the most sophisticated contextual and behavioral targeting programs available. Local newspapers need to keep looking for these types of partnerships and relationships on a “Local” level that allow them to borrow working technology and ideas from other companies.

3. Form Hyper Local Ad Networks:

Would it be that crazy of an idea to have local newspapers form their own local ad networks? There are hundreds of high traffic local websites and blogs in a given community. Many of these sites are not even supporting advertising units. Maybe it’s the chamber web site, the local golf association, High School, or the areas largest building products provider. Local newspapers can form partnerships and affiliations with these organizations and help them monetize their sites by selling advertising as part of a “local” network buy.

Jeremy Kirk couldn’t have stated it better: “…If newspapers develop better ways to sell their own online ads, they may not have to share revenue with their Web counterparts such as Yahoo and Google.”

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