Google steps up effort to break into print

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Google’s plan to work closely with the largest US newspaper companies is the search giant’s most intense effort to make partnerships with traditional media companies.

Previous attempts to add print advertising to Google’s online platform have failed to impress advertisers, most of whom did not believe the system offered any advantage over the current method of buying ads direct from Tribune, Gannett or New York Times newspapers.

However, Google will try to improve the system, which aims to use its technology to place print advertising in its partner newspapers in the same way that search can be targeted.

According to plans published on Sunday, it will work closely with newspapers for a trial of period of three-months.

“We are encouraged to see Google being aggressive in persuading a large number of offline publishing partners to work with them,” said Ben Schachter, internet analyst at UBS.

Google wants to extend its advertising technology to all sectors of the media.

Online advertising is the fastest-growing ad category, but the value of online advertising is still tiny relative to the amounts spent in radio, newspapers, magazines and television.

After Google’s acquisition last month of internet video site YouTube, the internet group is involved in high-level discussions with big media companies to try to strike deals to be allowed to use their video content online and to sell ads against it.

Some analysts said the newspaper industry’s decision to work with Google could make it harder to impose rate rises. But others said the decision was unlikely to affect prices of premium content.

Peter Herschberg, managing partner at Reprisemedia, said: “By introducing targeting criteria . . . so successful in search to radio, print and television, Google may raise the floor on something that has not been that valuable in the past.”

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