Newspapers Launch (Another) National Net

q1logo.gif A new national newspaper network has been set up by Gannett, Tribune, New York Times Co. and Hearst Newspapers, representing 37 of the top 40 U.S. markets.

The network, Quadrant One, will compete (or extend) McClatchy’s RealCities; the NAA’s National Newspaper Network; Centro, which is independently run and includes a wide range of local media; and Yahoo!, which trickles down its display advertisers to its consortium members.

Smaller papers link up via the Suburban Newspaper Network and TownNews’ Dot Connect Media. Other efforts include BlackBox Media, a boutique agency working with a number of mid-tier papers.

QuadrantOne has apparently been in the works for a year. While its reach is impressive, two of the owners’ premier titles — Gannett’s USA Today and The New York Times’ flagship — are excluded. As “national” titles, they’d presumably compete for the same advertising.

Mostly, the effort seems like an extension of Tribune’s titles, which have been selling as a national buy for some time. Two executive leaders — Interim CEO Dana Hayes and VP of Sales Donna Stokley — are longtime veterans of Tribune.

BlackBox Media’s David Teitler, a longtime national ad exec for newspapers, is supportive of the national network concept. Media are still too hard to buy. But he is concerned that there aren’t other types of local media companies involved beyond newspapers — “a silo within a silo.”

He also wonders if “there is a strategic objective in place beyond ‘smiling and dialing’ to sell into top agencies. What is the strategic objective in the next three to five years?

“Is it to provide proof that local online media helps marketers achieve their brand and commerce goals better than other media options?” he continues. “What is the inflection point between brand and commerce that local online media can do better than anyone else?”

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