AT&T to Rep Yahoo Display, Risks for Newspaper Consortium

  |  July 21, 2009   |  Comments

AT&T's 5,000 local sellers will push Yahoo's display inventory, but deal could undermine its 800-strong newspaper consortium.

Yahoo has struck an ad sales partnership with AT&T to represent its local ad inventory on the Apt display ad platform.

The deal adds approximately 5,000 local ad brokers from AT&T Interactive's local sales affiliate, AT&T Advertising Solutions, who can now sell Yahoo's local display inventory. That group is comprised of reps who sell listings on AT&T's YellowPages.com property as well as paid search placements and other local ads.

The arrangement shares similarities with Yahoo's newspaper consortium, the group of 800 newspapers that partner with Yahoo to sell regionally-targeted display ads on Yahoo properties, and open their own inventory to national advertisers sold through Yahoo. Of those 800 papers, 175 are using Yahoo's Apt ad platform now.

The deal raises questions about whether newspaper consortium partners might object to the AT&T deal on the grounds it could steal local inventory and advertisers from the newspaper sales teams.

Yahoo's Jim Schinella, SVP of the North America region, argued it would not have that effect because Yellow Pages and newspaper sellers tend to court different advertisers. He noted Yellow Pages companies focus on services providers such as plumbers, dentists, attorneys, and florists, while newspaper companies focus more on retail and other product-oriented advertisers, and others such as entertainment advertisers.

"The newspapers and directory companies have competed in the same market for many years," he said. "They do naturally gravitate toward different business partners."

However there are some ad categories, such as real estate and furniture retailers, that are routinely pursued by both Yellow Pages and newspaper sellers, noted Ken Doctor, an analyst with research firm Outsell. Doctor believes the AT&T partnership will weigh heavily on Yahoo's newspaper partners.

"Newspaper companies have entered into the agreement believing they were going to be the predominant local sales force, and that they would be able to sell a growing list of Yahoo products," he said.

At least one newspaper publisher, Hearst, has already expressed frustration that Yahoo is competing with their sales forces for the same clients.

Yahoo is not the first display ad giant to set up a local sales partnership with a Yellow Pages sales force. AOL's arrangement with IAC's Citysearch, announced in early 2008, gives it a sizable footprint in regional markets. That deal also included an exchange of content, as AOL integrated user and editorial reviews, videos, and other content on Citysearch.

Unlike that deal, Yahoo's tie-up with AT&T does not involve the exchange of content or services, although the two already have a partnership. Back in 2006, Yahoo began syndicating YellowPages.com listings on Yahoo Local and Yellow Pages.

"This joint effort is a natural extension of our existing relationship with Yahoo and takes advantage of each company's assets in the local market," said Matt Crowley, CMO of AT&T Interactive, in a statement.

News of the deal came as Yahoo announced a 13 percent decline in second quarter revenues. CEO Carol Bartz said that was a positive result in light of the economy. She also said the company will increase its investment in products and marketing for the remainder of the year.

ClickZ Live Toronto Twitter Canada MD Kirstine Stewart to Keynote Toronto
ClickZ Live Toronto (May 14-16) is a new event addressing the rapidly changing landscape that digital marketers face. The agenda focuses on customer engagement and attaining maximum ROI through online marketing efforts across paid, owned & earned media. Register now and save!*
*Early Bird Rates expire April 17.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zachary Rodgers

Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects. 

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

ion Interactive Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper

Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper
Marketing apps can elevate a formulaic landing page into a highly interactive user experience. Learn how to turn your static content into exciting marketing apps.

eMarketer: Redefining Mobile-Only Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop

Redefining 'Mobile-Only' Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop
A new breed of selective mobile-only consumers has emerged. What are the demos of these users and how and where can marketers reach them?

Jobs

    • Contact Center Professional
      Contact Center Professional (TCC: The Contact Center) - Hunt ValleyLooking to join a workforce that prides themselves on being routine and keeping...
    • Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador
      Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreAgora, www.agora-inc.com, continues to expand! In order to meet the needs of our...
    • Design and Publishing Specialist
      Design and Publishing Specialist (Bonner and Partners) - BaltimoreIf you’re a hungry self-starter, creative, organized and have an extreme...