Zillow, the online real estate valuation site, has announced a deal with 282 newspapers to display their ads on Zillow's site. In return, the newspapers can also use the Zillow valuation platform on their web sites.
According to a story by Reuters published on Cnet, (which is, in and of itself, a great example of a newspaper organization working with an online site);
Zillow.com said the deal covered 11 publishers including EW Scripps, MediaNews Group, Hearst Newspapers, Lee Enterprises and Media General, but did not disclose financial details.
Under the terms of the deal, local advertisers who place their print and online listings with the newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and The Tampa Tribune can choose to have those ads displayed on Zillow, which receives 4 million visitors every month.
Zillow's deal is similar parts of an agreement that about 20 newspaper publishers have entered into with online search and media company Yahoo.
Under the terms of that deal, newspaper Web sites use Yahoo's HotJobs online employment classified ad technology, while Yahoo displays ads bought on local papers on its own Web site.
Such deals help Yahoo and Zillow extend their reach into local U.S. communities, while newspapers benefit by getting exposure for their ads on a national online ad platform.
I have written many times about newspapers not getting it, and losing billions in advertising revenues to online alternatives like craigslist and Monster.com. In fact, newspapers lost $3.1 Billion in advertising, while online advertisers gained $3B.
Maybe there is hope for newspapers. These two deals are a good sign that they understand the need for change. I have written before that local newspapers should "own" the local search and classified market. The local newspapers have a trusted brand name, a long history with advertisers, and significant assets. They have let the online opportunity slip through their fingers. Maybe these two deals signal a change in thinking. Do you think your local paper will make a move online? Or, is it too late?