Zillow, Newspapers Expand Consortium Agreement

In an appeal to national advertisers, Zillow has expanded its arrangement with newspapers in the Newspaper Consortium.

The move creates a real estate-focused online ad network capable of touching over 63 million monthly unique and targeted visitors, according to Zillow. Ads will be targeted to real estate and home-related content.

For Zillow, forging relationships with newspapers will help it appeal to advertisers for whom its 5.4 million-strong audience is too paltry, according to Greg Schwartz, VP of sales at Zillow.

“We need Yahoo Local scale,” said Schwartz, adding advertisers “want to see 50 million reach.”

Last November Zillow partnered with The Newspaper Consortium to run real estate classified ads on Zillow. Today the Consortium will extend the relationship to include display ads that can be sold in both directions. Zillow will sell targeted display ads that will appear in newspaper sections such as real estate, sports, and other pages deemed conducive to reaching home buyers. Each paper will in turn be able to sell local ads on Zillow’s site, targeted to searches in particular neighborhoods, demographics, or even particular houses.

“These are great brands. This isn’t some blind network where the advertisers don’t know where their ads will appear; these are all premium newspaper sites,” said Schwartz.

The real estate ad network is beneficial for both Zillow and the newspapers, Schwartz believes. “We don’t have the bandwidth to be relevant to [local] furniture stores,” he said. However, Shwartz explained regional newspapers have feet on the ground in their markets, and can upsell ad placements on Zillow when selling for their own online presences.

Member papers include 11 major newspaper publishing companies, and ultimately 282 major newspapers nationwide. Publishing companies include Hearst, Lee Enterprises, Media General, MediaNews Group, Morris Communications, Philadelphia Media Holdings, and E.W. Scripps, plus dailies including The San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, The Tampa Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Zillow, a real estate-focused site, offers homeowners, buyers, sellers, and real estate agents information on home values for particular neighborhoods. The site received 5.4 million unique visitors in August, according to its own internal reporting based on Omniture data.

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