NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The newspaper business is assembling its latest and hopefully greatest attempt yet to sell their online audiences to big-time advertisers. It's certainly a big-name play: Tribune, Gannett, Hearst and The New York Times Co. have all invested in the effort, an online sales organization called Quadrant One. But it also offers advertisers the chance to place ads in markets from Albany, N.Y., to Phoenix to Sarasota, Fla.
"It's been hard to buy lots of local," said Dana Hayes, interim CEO of Quadrant One and senior VP-sales for Tribune Interactive. "What exists today is a 'by-hand' way, where media buyers that want to buy 100 markets need to make 100 phone calls. Our objective is to solve, in a very consultative way, digital needs for advertisers."
The Quadrant One model compares roughly with network TV's model, under which local affiliates sell some of the commercial inventory while the national head office gets the rest. "Specific inventory will go into Quadrant One," Mr. Hayes said. "Premium positions and units primarily above the fold will go in."
The network can reach nearly 50 million unique visitors, per Nielsen Online's December estimate, and covers 26 of the country's top 30 markets, according to Quadrant One. Other ways of buying online ads can turn up greater reach -- YouTube alone attracted almost 69 million uniques in December -- but the pitch here is the trusted environment that newspaper brands provide.
Quadrant One will not sell online ads for The New York Times Online or Gannett's USA Today site.