Groupon, Media General Say ‘Let’s Make a Deal’

Media General is the latest traditional media franchise to partner with a deal-a-day provider, launching a partnership with Groupon to open a new revenue stream in the much-hyped group buying space.

Media General owns both local television stations (18 total) and newspapers (21 daily and more than 200 specialty publications), and the partnership covers both markets. A Richmond-specific daily deal is already live in the Times-Dispatch newspaper, conveniently called the “Richmond Daily Deal.” Other markets are expected to debut in the fourth quarter.

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Much like Groupon’s existing media partnerships, notably McClatchy, the Chicago-based deal-a-day leader will control most aspects of the relationship. Its sales force will lead advertiser outreach, negotiate deals and handle all creative. Media General’s role is to increase the number of eyeballs that Groupon reaches by introducing new audiences to the concept through e-mail alerts to its subscribers.

Groupon unveils an exclusive daily deal on a respective newspaper or TV station’s Web site, but maintains other deals in the market through its own destination sites.

For Media General, the dilemma is finding creative, engaging ways to reach new customers. For Groupon, it’s about managing advertiser demand. Partnerships like these allow it to create new inventory, service new advertisers and increase reach … all at the same time. It also created deal personalization based around geo- and behavioral targeting for increased “customer relevance” and “merchant access.”

Many media companies are jumping into social shopping, with most either partnering with deal-a-days such as Groupon or LivingSocial to share deals and split revenues or with technology platforms such as Deal Current, Matchbin and Shoutback to create their own deals. One outlier is the Gannett-owned Arizona Republic, which has used its own R&D to build out and brand Deal Chicken.

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