B’lo News and Others Join Yahoo Newspaper Group

buffalonews.gifFinally I have a truly personal connection with the Yahoo Newspaper Consortium. The paper used to deliver, trudging through lake effect snow, fingers numb as I struggled to add inserts to already gigantic Sunday editions, has finally joined Yahoo’s exponentially growing group of publisher partners: The Buffalo News. Well, the online edition, anyway.

Yahoo announced it’s added four new publisher partners including the B’lo News, Shaw Newspapers, Times Publishing Company and the Columbian Publishing Company. Shaw adds 25 dailies covering northern Illinois and Iowa, Times adds Pennsylvania’s The Erie Times News, and Columbian adds The Columbian of Vancouver, WA. That brings Yahoo’s total to 634 papers, including 425 dailies.

The deals aren’t all the same though. The Times and Columbian appear only to be doing the HotJobs co-branding thing. Meanwhile The Buffalo News and thirteen of the Shaw sites are going for the whole shebang, integrating HotJobs as well as adding what Yahoo’s calling “Core Services,” meaning they’ll add Yahoo Search to their sites, and sell Yahoo inventory to their local advertisers as Yahoo has access to their inventory for national advertisers.

Yahoo said it’s launched co-branded HotJobs sites “serving more than 425 U.S. newspapers,” and features Yahoo Search on 126 newspapers. It also said it’s begun the initial phase of ad cross-sales, “with the sales staffs of several newspapers integrating Yahoo inventory into sales packages for their local advertisers.” I take this to mean the planned display ad partnership has begun. The company said it will expand on that in the coming months, to allow paper partners to target specific audience segments.

Note the guy quoted in the press release is Jay Smith, President of Cox Newspapers, stating, “We’re in the infancy of a relationship between Yahoo and our newspaper consortium that already exceeds our expectations.”

The reason I call this to attention is Cox was among the names floated when reports of the now official quadrantOne newspaper ad network, launched a week ago by Gannett , Hearst, Tribune, and The New York Times, prematurely surfaced. Cox, however, isn’t a member of this new network – yet anyway. The company apparently has been in discussion with the quadOne people, along with several other publishers, according to a talk I had last week with Tribune Interactive’s Dana Hayes, also quadrantOne Interim CEO.

If anything, this shows Yahoo is, at least on the surface, committed to the consortium project. Whether things remain intact after what seems to be a highly likely Microsoft grab, is anybody’s guess.

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