Local newspapers get national advertising help

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New Century Network next month will unveil its long-awaited gateway site for local newspapers.

NCN, a joint venture of nine major newspaper companies including Knight-Ridder and The New York Times Co., will feature information from local newspapers and other sources in a variety of vertical content categories. NCN will sell national advertising on both the gateway and the sites belonging to its 100-plus affiliate newspapers.

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"We're focusing on two or three areas we want to bring to our affiliates," said CEO Lee de Boer. "We're going to bring them national ad sales revenue, technology, through NetGravity's AdServer 3.0, and [maintain] a gateway site."

While the premise is simple, organizing the network has been a slow process. The original idea was to create new content brands based on information from a pool of affiliate newspapers. NCN also discussed a pay-content model.

Now, NCN is focusing on selling national advertising and developing co-branded "bridge pages" between local sites and national content. The site will be free to users.

THIRD-PARTY CONTENT

NCN also is signing up third-party content providers; deals from sports and technology brands have already been signed, Mr. de Boer said.

On the advertising front, NCN and its ad sales partner, Cox Interactive Media, have signed IBM Corp., Ford Motor Co., American Express Co. and others. Ad rates are based on a $40 CPM.

Newspaper affiliates set aside inventory for NCN to sell, said Tom Bates, senior VP-advertising.

"We're focusing on multi-site buys. I would estimate that I could be selling upwards of 10% [of available ad inventory] for many affiliates."

Copyright April 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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