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Gannett’s local newspapers and TV stations will begin selling Yahoo inventory, considerably boosting the size of Yahoo’s local sales efforts. The deal, which involves 81 newspaper organizations and seven of its 23 TV stations, is similar to the efforts of Yahoo’s 800-member Newspaper Consortium.

But Gannett, notably, is staying separate from the Consortium. In part, Gannett was concerned that contract was newspaper specific (even though Media General and Freedom Interactive, which both have added TV stations, seem to work within it). The timing for originally joining the Consortium also wasn’t good, as Gannett was still backing CareerBuilder while the consortium was launched with Yahoo Hot Jobs.

Yahoo VP of Channel Sales Lem Lloyd has been working on projects with Gannett for more than a decade, starting when he was an executive at Knight Ridder and they co-owned verticals ranging from CareerBuilder to “When the corporate entity puts a focus on something, they have a great ability to have local properties execute strong sales and execution,” he says.

Lloyd adds that both entities are committing major resources to the new effort. “Gannett is in an especially strong position to help due to its portfolio of smaller media markets, which typically fall from DMAs 75-200,” says Lloyd. “It is a great proving ground for selling more sophisticated advertising to local businesses.”

What isn’t involved is Gannett Local, a separate venture designed to sell search solutions to SMBs. Tribune also recently launched a local search arm. Lloyd notes that the Yahoo deal won’t be at all search oriented.

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