As newspaper publishers report miserable earnings, quadrantONE — the online newspaper ad network aiming to help turn things around — has hired a new CEO. Andy Ellenthal will replace interim CEO Dana Hayes, who’s been running the show since the network launched in February. It was expected all along Hayes would eventually hand over the reins.
“There are challenges in beginning any new role, but there are many more significant opportunities,” Ellenthal told ClickZ News, referring to the company’s sales strength and trusted publisher brands.
Ellenthal started his new position on July 28, and most recently served as SVP at Visible World, a firm that helps national advertisers localize television and Web ad content. Before that, he worked as senior executive at ad tech firm PointRoll. PointRoll is now owned by Gannett, one of quadrantOne’s four paper publisher backers. Hearst Corp., Tribune Co., and The New York Times Co. complete its four walls.
Ellenthal trained his replacement, Mike Caprio, who has been with Visible World for a couple months now. He joined from SoftWave Media Exchange. “Mike’s depth and breadth of experience in the television industry has already enabled him to quickly continue to build on the success that Andy has generated,” said Visible World President Tara Walpert Levy.
QuadrantOne, comprised of newspaper Web sites, is battling to score national display and video ad dollars for local paper publishers. It’s operating in the same space as Yahoo, which continues to pursue a goal to dominate display advertising on newspaper sites. This spring, quadrantOne added several new Web sites and publishers to its network, all of which are also giving inventory to Yahoo’s newspaper consortium. QuadrantOne claims its network reaches “nearly 40 million” unique visitors each month.
Local media consulting and research firm Kelsey Group reported Yahoo’s consortium comprises 32 companies, with between 700 and 900 salespeople hawking Yahoo ad inventory. Part of the relationship with the paper partners involves Yahoo posting local news from the newspapers, which drives traffic directly to their sites. Yahoo recently said it has driven over 100 million visits to the consortium’s member sites. The Yahoo group now totals 779 local paper sites, according to the firm.
Publishers aligned with Yahoo have each agreed to an array of offerings, including running Yahoo’s HotJobs recruitment listings, enabling Yahoo search and other tools on their sites, offering display ad inventory to Yahoo for sale to national advertisers, and providing Yahoo inventory to their local advertisers. The display ad relationships are still in their early days, though Yahoo continues to make progress reports.
Yahoo’s long term goal is for its newspaper and other publisher partners to use its ad platform, formerly known as AMP, for all their campaigns. Whether quadrantOne can deliver on its long-term goal as Yahoo pushes ahead with the same mission remains to be seen. Certainly, Yahoo’s topsy-turvy year has given newspaper consortium partners pause. Some believe ongoing concerns about Yahoo’s future helped propel the launch of the newspaper publisher-owned quadrantOne.
“Everyone is competing for budget dollars,” noted Ellenthal, who didn’t rule out potential for some kind of alignment with Yahoo or other partners down the road. “I see quadrantOne as being open to any and all organizations. In this space, everyone is a potential partner, because the online world was conceived and built on the principles of mutual participation and openness.”
When ClickZ News met in April with quadrantOne’s then-CEO Hayes, he said about 150 network sites had been fully integrated on its ad platform, with a total of 325 sites expected to be integrated by the end of June. At the time, a large national retail advertiser had been testing ads through the network, which offers pre-roll video inventory, standard display and rich media formats.
Hayes will stay on as quadrantOne board member and go back to his full-time role as SVP of Sales at Tribune Interactive.
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