From:Yahoo Newspaper Consortium grows in the January 29, 2015 issue of Classified Intelligence Report
By Sharon Hill
With a new name, The Yahoo Newspaper Consortium of 176 daily newspapers has spent the last year evolving and expanding both its mission and membership.
Launched in 2006 to share content and technology, and to post newspaper-sold job listings on Yahoo’s Hot Jobs site, it was renamed in 2013 and has become the digitally-focused Local Me-dia Consortium (LMC). Now made up of 57 media groups and 1,200 newspaper, broadcast and pure play publications, Monster is its endorsed recruitment site. (Monster acquired Hot Jobs in 2010.)
LMC members include such notables as Cox Media Group, A.H. Belo, Boston Globe Media, The McClatchy Co., and Digital First Media.
“We changed our charter to include anyone in the lo-cal media space well over a year ago,” LMC executive director Rusty Coats told the AIM Group. “The News-paper Consortium was solely Yahoo and agreements were timed for the end of 2013. So, our executive committee got together in April, 2013. We began with 37 companies.”
Consortium members are polled twice a year to come up with 10 to 12 key digital priorities, after which vendors are sought. The Consortium acts as a collective, negotiating favorable terms on vendor agreements.
“Our executive committee looks at the ‘up and comers’ among the vendors, and takes them through our Project Runway, when they propose what the products would look like,” Coats said. “Then they are introduced to the members.” While Coats called participation “significant,” he said that no member can be compelled to participate in any vendor agree-ment.
“McClatchy doesn’t do Monster as we are partnered with CareerBuilder,” The McClatchy Co. VP of Interactive Media Chris Hendricks told the AIM Group. Hendricks is also chair of the Lo-cal Media Consortium’s executive committee.
The LMC signed several vendor agreements between September and November 2014, with Ad-pay and Legacy.com for paid obituaries, with HomeFinder.com for real estate, and with Tout for video. In February 2014, LMC also signed a three-year agreement with Google for search and ad-serving technology that enabled a private advertising exchange for its members.
On the 2015 LMC drawing board are automotive and big data.
While Adpay’s Memoriams and Legacy.com serve different obituary purposes for their clients, they have similarities. Both offer additional revenue opportunities for publishers, as well as customization and rich-media tools for the death notices.
Memoriams is primarily a back-end tool for funeral directors, providing 2,300 newspapers an average 40 percent revenue jump per obit. Free of charge to any publisher, Memoriams al-lows funeral directors to easily schedule death notices in more than one newspaper, and to provide digital proofs to families. This digital process is spurring families to purchase custom-ized upsells.
“Families are adding pictures, icons, and colored backgrounds and buying memorial plaques, oil paintings and additional copies,” AdPay EVP of sales Deb Dreyfuss-Tuchman told the AIM Group. “We’re changing the consumer experience.”
In contrast, Legacy.com targets friends of the deceased and their families, to whom it sells social, consumer-facing online remembrances.
While the two vendors aren’t creating a merged LMC product, they work together to enhance publisher obit revenue.
“Legacy.com’s and Adpay’s solution complement each other well, and our companies have a positive working relationship. That makes integration easy and rewarding for our newspaper partners,” Stopher Bartol, Legacy.com CEO, told us.
“We work very closely with Legacy because we’re able to send feeds of the data that Legacy needs directly to them,” said Dreyfuss-Tuchman.
Legacy.com introduced a Next Generation Obituary (NGO) premium platform for its 1,000 media clients in 2014, which added video, audio, and a prominent funeral-notice profile to its traditional classic obituary product. While LMC members can choose either level, the col-laboration has significantly boosted transition to NGO by long-standing Legacy clients.
“The papers typically charge a few dollars more for NGO to take care of the additional fee to us,” Bartol told us. “But it’s a really nominal amount.”
Legacy manages all aspects of the online obit section of the newspaper partners’ websites. Each paper pays Legacy.com a monthly hosting fee based on obituary volume and receives a monthly revenue-share payment.