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McClatchy Newspapers surprised everyone last July when it opted to let the fox into the chicken coop by signing up with Groupon for local deals.

At the time, McClatchy Interactive head Chris Hendricks saw it as a net plus for both companies. “They’ve got their space,” but McClatchy offered Groupon more “entry points” to readers and deals, he noted.

Tellingly, Hendricks also said the limited commitment was a net plus. “We have a lot of stuff going on,” said Hendricks. “An affiliate marketing program fits in better,” and “lets us get out of the gate.” Similar logic was apparently used by Media General and Tribune, which signed with Groupon around the same time.

Now, McClatchy appears to have found its sea legs in the deals space. While it will apparently maintain a relationship with Groupon, it has opted to invest heavily in the white-label route via Second Street Media‘s Deadline Deals platform, which now serves more than 150 publishers.

In a statement, Hendricks said –without commenting on the fate of its relationship with Groupon — that a private-label deals platform is a perfect fit with FindnSave, Travidia’s deals-and-offers portal that will eventually launch in 21 of McClatchy’s 28 markets. FindnSave pairs daily deals with other offers, such as weekly sales, coupons and grocery cents off offers.

McClatchy isn’t the only newspaper company with news in the deals space. Hearst Newspapers announced last week that it would join MediaNews Group and Freedom Interactive as partners of Analog Analytics, which says it now serves 850 local media properties. Freedom’s Orange County Register recently did more than $188,000 on one deal (a heavily discounted boat ride to Catalina Island).

Group Commerce Inc., similarly, recently announced a deals partnership with The New York Times Co., among other media companies.

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