I had a good talk with Eric van Miltenburg, the new GM of Yahoo’s Newspaper Consortium Group, which added Morris Publishing’s 27 daily papers to its partner roster earlier this month. Now the group is up to 9 publishers and over 200 paper sites.
I was interested to learn about the progress of HotJobs integration with the new partners, and whether the rumors of that classifieds network becoming a display ad network were true. “There are no specific timelines to share at this point,” said van Miltenburg. “There are lot of details and a lot of opportunities that need to be vetted.”
Still, he did confirm that the consortium is definitely discussing the display ad possibility, in which case Yahoo would serve the ads and both the papers and Yahoo probably would have the ability to cross-sell.
As for the HotJobs piece, he said the integration progress is “modest right now.” Users will start to see elements of the collaboration this year though, he added.
Of course, since talk about the planned “GMT network,” an ad network featuring Gannett, McClatchy and Tribune properties, began, there’s been much speculation about an industry split between GMT and the Yahoo group. Many worry that could hamper the online newspaper industry’s ability to compete for national ad dollars.
Both groups validate the fact that joining forces in the online ad industry makes sense, van Miltenburg told me. He also stressed the openness of the network to new members. “There’s always a willingness and an openness to continuing the dialogue,” he said.
Van Miltenburg, who’s worked at Yahoo for 3.5 years, was named to his new position in November when the original seven publishers signed on with the Yahoo group. He’s officially left his former role in which he focused on Yahoo’s mail, IM, social networking and photos products. He reports to Yahoo’s new classifieds chief, Hilary Schneider, SVP of Marketplaces.
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