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Newspapers Herd Together for Protection Against Google




Have you ever watched a herd of buffalo or deer?

Ever seen hundreds of small fish school together and move in one fluid movement?

As you may already know, they do that in order to protect themselves from a single large predator. It often works, as the predator will mistakenly believe the prey is too large to consume, or get’s blocked out by a massive wall of bodies.

There’s a new herd on the traditional media landscape.

Four large newspaper companies–The Tribune Company, Gannett Company, Hearst Corporation, and The New York Times Company–have decided there’s safety in numbers and so have joined forces. Between them they’re creating quadrantONE and each will allocate a portion of its online advertising space to the new company.

As the NYT reports:

The purpose of the joint venture, which will be based in Chicago and will hire 17 people, is to let national advertisers place ads on local Web sites with a single phone call. The sites belong to papers like The Los Angeles Times (which is a Tribune property), The Des Moines Register (Gannett), The Houston Chronicle (Hearst) and The Boston Globe (The New York Times Company).

Some of the companies’ flagship sites, however, will not be included, because they are not considered local. These include the sites of USA Today, a Gannett paper, and of The New York Times and The International Herald Tribune, which are owned by the Times Company.

As you can guess, the herd hopes to protect itself from predators such as Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo–who are constantly attacking the local markets the newspapers operate in.

Will it work? Will the herd offer protection? Or will Google still pick-off the weaker member’s target advertiser?

  • http://www.dogbehavioronline.com Ty Brown

    Interesting concept these papers have come up with.

  • http://www.idoseo.com David Saunders

    Interesting? I think not….

    Newspapers are for old folks – now if they got together and started a search engine that would be cool but I suspect the banner ad and pop ups would be back with a vengeance….

    I get my news from Google and I spend money with them

  • http://www.simplyfreeiphone.co.uk Steve Elliott

    Isn’t Bill Bryson from Des Moines? Sure I read that in the Thunderbolt kid – reason I thought of it here is that his father was a sports reporter for the local paper and got to go cover the World Series baseball each year apparently.

    Newspapers are for old people…maybe, but they do come in handy on buses, trains and anywhere else that the ‘net may not be readily available!

  • http://www.goodnightmoonfuton.com Futon-Matt

    I think this is a great idea, papers still hold lots of weight in their local markets. But, will it be enough?

  • Dewey Cheatham

    If your school is approached by the Gannett/USA Today Collegiate Readership Program, I hope that you will consider this: They want to steal your college newspaper advertisers! They will financially beat your college newspaper down by drastically reducing your ad revenue so that they can either take over your college newspaper if it has potential for profit or simply put it out of business.

    The USA Today Collegiate Readership Program has been cleverly marketed to colleges and universities across the country as a way to enlighten our students and improve the journalism skills of the campus newspaper writers. On Feb. 15, 2008 a joint initiative called Quadrantone was announced by Gannett, The Tribune Newspapers, Hearst Corp and the New York Times. This program creates an unprecedented on line advertising platform that will allow this newly formed oligopoly to offer localized on line advertising on their member online newspaper websites to local advertisers who have relied on the college newspaper to reach students. With Quadrantone, even the on line editorial content can be customized to reach different demographic groups.

    Here is the bottom line- This USA Today program is nothing more than a surreptitious way to curry favor with students and administrators under the guise of providing a valuable educational service to our community. Make no mistake about it. The goal of the USA Today readership program is not to enlighten our students and broaden their perspectives as they would have you believe. Their sneaky plan involves bringing USA Today and usually the New York Times on campus along with the local metropolitan newspaper (usually a Gannett publication)- often “free of charge” to the students but paid for by the college administration or student government association. That way the program can count all of their newspapers on campus as paid circulation to justify ad rate increases. The typical metropolitan newspaper is written on an 8th grade reading level. Is that the kind of education and enlightenment that our students can look forward too?

    Once the USA Today Collegiate Readership program gets the local metropolitan newspaper on the college campuses, their goal is to steal college newspaper advertisers by offering below market display ad rates to local advertisers and below market on line ad rates through the Quadrantone platform. Gannett and the other large newspaper conglomerates share a common goal- put the college newspapers out of business or buy them for a fraction of what they are worth.

    Why are they doing this? The average age of today’s metropolitan newspaper reader is 56 years old! The newspaper industry has the same dilemma as the tobacco industry. Their older customers are hooked but the new generation is not buying. When today’s readers die, so goes their readership. Therefore, to survive, Gannett and the other Quadrantone members are aggressively trying to establish a foothold on college campuses.

    A few days after the local metropolitan paper and the two national papers are made available for free in nice shiny racks on the college campus, the multitude of ad reps for the local metropolitan paper and Quadrantone will be calling on every local business within a 10-mile radius of the campus and they will of course call EVERY national advertiser that has used the local college paper in the last 5 years. They will offer the college newspaper advertiser a display ad rate so low that the advertiser will jump ship. Now that Quadrantone can offer locally targeted online advertising, the college newspapers that have local online advertising revenue will no longer be able to compete.

    “Citizen Kane” is often considered by movie critics to be the best
    >movie EVER PRODUCED.

    “Citizen Kane” is a 1941 mystery/drama film. Released by RKO Pictures,
    it was the first feature film directed by Orson Welles. The story
    traces the life and career of Charles Foster Kane, a man whose career
    in the publishing world is born of idealistic social service, but
    gradually evolves into a ruthless pursuit of power.”- Wikipedia

    It supposedly centers around the life of William Randolph Hearst, the
    undisputed giant in the newspaper industry in the early 1900’s. He
    tried everything he could to ban the movie from reaching the theaters
    and almost succeeded. If you want to see what corporate greed in the
    newspaper industry looks like, watch the movie.

    But don’t worry. When all looks lost, Gannett or some other newspaper giant might come to the rescue and buy out your college newspaper if it has the potential for profit. If not, they will just kill it by practically giving away their ads to the college market advertisers. If the college paper gets bought out, the students that are left now work for a huge multimedia conglomerate, and they can kiss goodbye the editorial freedom they have taken for granted.

    If the students start working for Gannett, they better not say something that Gannett does not agree with in the college paper, especially when it comes to politics. Study Gannett’s political mindset and commit it to memory or risk being shown the door. Gannett knows how the game is played. Gannett has already bought an independent college newspaper in Florida and is about to buy another student newspaper in Colorado. This is just the beginning. The alarming fact is that the USA Today Collegiate Readership Program marketers have duped students and their administrators into thinking that their motives are purely altruistic. That should insult the collective intelligence of our future leaders.

    The student newspaper, the last bastion of true freedom of expression in the print media, is slowly being destroyed by a modern day Citizen Kane.

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