Village Voice Media Launches Local Ad Network

Weekly newspaper publisher Village Voice Media has launched an online local ad network that is allowing Web publishers to take advantage of its widely-dispersed print-ad sales team.

The network, named the Voice Local Network, is designed to serve as a “powerful geographic targeting tool” for Web publishers whose content and demographics are similar to that of Village Voice Media’s newspapers: 18- to 34-year-olds interested in nightlife, food, entertainment and lifestyles, said Scott Tobias, the company’s chief operating officer. The first batch of advertisers includes LikeMe.net, Wolfgangvault.com, Curbed.com, Eater.com, Racked.com, and Checkoutmyink.com.

Tobias said Village Voice Media plans to expand its team of about 200 sales personnel, now operating in 15 cities where it publishes papers including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Houston, Denver, Seattle, and Miami. The company says it has more than 12,000 local advertisers.

Citing the sales teams’ experience selling newspaper ads to local businesses, Tobias said a Village Voice Media publication is often the first place in which a local company buys advertising. He said local advertisers will likely be amenable when Village Voice Media reps show up with “a quiver” of new opportunities.

“We’ve been working the streets, merchant to merchant, for years developing personal relationships in all of our cities,” Tobias said. “Through these connections, we’ve developed a very high local CPM Web business and it’s a natural evolution to help other publishers tap into our network of advertisers.”

The network is getting $7 to $15 CPMs and offering ads in standard Interactive Adverting Bureau units as well as mobile text message and e-mail campaigns and selling to a wide assortment of local businesses including restaurants, bars, and fashion boutiques, according to Tobias. “We truly see ourselves as a full-service sales organization for any digital partner,” he said. Although a big factor in Village Voice Media’s success has been its commitment to local content and advertising, the new ad network will not be limited to local publishers but will also aim for national Web sites “looking for hyper-local sales representation.”

Village Voice Media publishes New York’s Village Voice, the LA Weekly, Denver’s Westword, and the Phoenix New Times.

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