11.20.06: YHOO, GOOG pick over the remains of newspapers
Yahoo today announced a deal with 150 newspapers to sell ads through the online portal, following a similar deal that Google cut with 50 papers. The chains in the Yahoo deal include Cox Newspapers Inc., Belo Corp., Hearst Corp., the E.W. Scripps Co., MediaNews Group Inc., Lee Enterprises and the Journal Register Co. Through these deals newspapers will be able to pick up a piece of the national advertising market because national advertisers won't have to deal directlly with dozens of papers to make a buy. (AP)
But isn't there something terribly sad about this, that an entire media industry is unable to aggregate itself for such an obvious purpose, that it needs the relatively simple technical assistance of the big Internet engines to pull this off. One may argue that advertisers would rather deal with Yahoo and Google than say the Classified Advertising Consortium (I just made that up). It's clear that news industry efforts have failed to catch fire.
So Google and Yahoo will aggregate newspapers and take a cut in the bargain. Papers could create a stand-alone for profit company to do this work and use the profits to provide technology resources across papers. But instead, newspapers will aid Yahoo's bottom line while their own continue to shrink, newsroom cuts continue and young readers continue to scan headlines through the Web, cellphones, and cable news.