Major newspapers team up for online ad effort

Four major U.S. newspaper companies are teaming up to form quadrantONE, an effort to woo large online advertisers, the New York Times reports.

The Tribune Company, the Gannett Company, the Hearst Corporation and the New York Times Company will all be transferring a portion of their online ad space to quadrantONE, which will employ 17 staffers in Chicago.

The partnership should give advertisers a single entity to deal with when they want to place ads with local newspapers like Tribune’s Los Angeles Times, Gannett’s Des Moines Register, Hearst’s Houston Chronicle and the New York Times’ Boston Globe.

The partnership is limited to “local” papers, so it excludes national and international publications like USA Today, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times itself.

It’s a tough time for the newspaper industry, with online growth contributing to virtually universal declines in circulation and ad revenue, which in turn lead to layoffs and shrinking newsrooms. (The New York Times, one of the last papers to hold off on cuts, announced yesterday that it will be eliminating 100 news jobs.) As more readers flock to their Web sites, newspapers have struggled to find new business models. And while it’s not clear if quadrantONE will take off, it’s encouraging to see the companies evolve.

The New York Times also notes that Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and others are approaching newspaper companies to sell premium ads on their sites, but Hearst digital media vice president Lincoln Millstein says, “We want to control our own destiny.”

On the other hand, Forrester Research analyst Shar VanBoskirk says newspapers need to partner with technology companies, not other newspapers.

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