Newspapers Screwed, Again: Losing Local Online Ad Race

Yet more bad news for newspapers: The local online ad market, which should be a natural for them, is slipping away to the likes of Google. WSJ:

In 2007, Internet companies had a 43.7% share of the $8.5 billion local online-ad market, while newspaper companies had a 33.4% share, according to the media research firm Borrell Associates. Just three years ago, newspapers had 44.1% of the local online-ad market. (Directories such as the Yellow Pages have 10.1%, and local television outlets 9.3%.)

If you’re a newspaper optimist (anyone?), you can argue that no one has really solved local online ads yet, and there’s plenty of opportunity left. Fair enough: It seems fairly clear by now that the self-serve, automated ad sales model that Google prefers to use won’t work for ma and pa advertisers, so whoever does figure it out is going to have to use real flesh-and-blood sales teams.

And as the WSJ points out, that’s what the papers are belatedly realising, and are investing in local online sales teams. Too bad they didn’t start years ago.

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