Yahoo Aims for Local Auto Ad Boost in Belo Deal Expansion

Yahoo plans to expand its partnerships with Belo television stations throughout the coming year. The firms have worked together for years as part of Yahoo’s newspaper consortium and have tested an ad sales partnership involving Belo’s local TV properties for a few months. The deal allows Belo’s local TV sales teams to sell Yahoo ad inventory.

“We’ve been expanding the portfolio of local media partners that we work with to include more local TV stations,” said Lem Lloyd, Yahoo’s VP North America channel sales. Yahoo has been testing the TV partnerships with five Belo stations and expects to roll out to all 15 Belo TV markets in the next year. Belo stations serve areas including Dallas/Fort Worth, TX; Hampton/Norfolk, VA; and Seattle/Tacoma, WA.

Cox, Scripps, and Media General have similar deals with Yahoo. “We work with those TV groups to help train their sales force and put together packages” for television and digital ads, said Lloyd. He added that when Yahoo completes the Belo TV roll out, it will have “close to 100” stations on its roster.

In particular, the relationships help Yahoo generate ad revenue from local advertisers that have been difficult for Yahoo to reach before, such as local auto dealer groups. While Yahoo has sold ads to national auto brands like Ford and Chrysler, the TV station partnerships help them fill local inventory with ads from local companies and organizations.

“What these TV partnerships allow us is a better window into local DMA auto dealer associations across the country, such as Toyota of New York or Cleveland Ford Dealers Association.”

TV station sales teams – usually comprised of around 10 to 15 people – will be selling Yahoo display inventory targeted behaviorally, or to “lifestages” categories such as consumers planning big events or people interested in secondary education. They can also buy run-of-network campaigns.

“The TV groups realize that there’s a share shift happening in spend and they’re being smart about it… by transitioning [traditional advertiser clients] and offering them a larger online presence.”

In some cases, the Belo partnerships help Yahoo reach local markets where there were gaps before, such as Seattle. “There are certain markets where we don’t have a newspaper partner, and we’re always very mindful of trying to not overload a market,” said Lloyd.

In 2008 Yahoo broadened its newspaper site advertising partnership with Belo, agreeing to make it the exclusive provider of local news video to Yahoo News in all Belo TV markets but Dallas and Boise. Yahoo shared ad revenue created through the clips with Belo. Belo was among the original members of Yahoo’s group of newspaper site partners.

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