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Yahoo’s battle with Google for online advertising gained support on Monday from 12 leading newspaper groups as the company unveiled a major extension of an existing strategic partnership.

Yahoo and companies including Hearst Newspapers, MediaNews, Cox Newspapers and McClatchy, said they would share a common online advertising platform, cross-sell ads and share content in a deal that went well beyond a recruitment advertising relationship established last November.

Robert Decherd, chief executive of Belo Corp media group, publisher of the Dallas Morning News and other titles, said most companies would see revenues exceed those achieved by the existing Yahoo HotJobs arrangement, although he would not provide any specific numbers or forecasts.

“HotJobs has been important in creating incremental revenues, this larger partnership has significant revenue potential for all of us,” he told analysts. Yahoo and its partners will profit from a revenue-sharing agreement for all kinds of graphical “display” advertising across their network. Google is noted more for its simple text ads.

“We wanted to extend our industry-leading graphical capabilities and this takes it a step further,” Sue Decker, head of Yahoo’s Advertiser and Publisher Group, said.

“This [deal] allows them to sell on our [advertising] inventory and us to sell on their inventory, we are opening up to partners our ad-serving network and that’s a very significant move.”

The partnership said that, with the addition of McClatchy and four other new members since November, it now consisted of 12 companies representing 264 newspapers across 44 states. News emerged last week that McClatchy was defecting from a rival partnership led by the Tribune Group and Gannett to join the larger consortium. It remains a co-owner with Tribune and Gannett of the CareerBuilder.com jobs site and will not participate in the HotJobs deal.

Mr Decherd said the larger group had created “the newspaper industry’s first full-fledged integrated online advertising network”.

Gary Pruitt, McClatchy chief executive, said he expected other newspaper companies would be joining in the near future.

Yahoo’s paid-search technology would be integrated across newspaper sites bringing in more revenues. Yahoo would also distribute newspaper content across its network.

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