Newspapers have watched as “their” national advertisers have gone elsewhere online to get the reach and local placements that they provided almost exclusively offline. There have been several disappointing attempts in the past to build a national network of newspaper publishers: the failed New Century Network and the existing but arguably underperforming Real Cities and the NNN. But now Gannett Co., Hearst Corp., the New York Times Co. and Tribune Co. have formed a joint venture called quadrantOne.
There will be common technology, common sales, and support and dedicated premium inventory at 120 papers, with a combined reach of 50 million users in 27 of the top 30 markets. Numerous newspaper publishers, including Hearst, have already made commitments to Yahoo that would seem to be in conflict with this effort to varying degrees. However, confidence in the Yahoo newspaper consortium has waned among members as Yahoo’s troubles have increased in recent months. Most recently, the newspapers did a real estate syndication deal with Zillow.
All the major ad networks (e.g., Advertising.com) offer geotargeting; however, these are largely “blind” placements that are unappealing to most brands and agencies. The transparency and premium inventory offered by quadrantOne is welcome. Yet there probably isn’t room for multiple national newspaper networks, as well as Centro, which is a buying service that works with agencies and advertisers to make display ad buys across newspaper and other local media sites.
There’s no paid search dimension to the new network. I have a longer post on my personal blog, Screenwerk.