Gannett in partnership with Belo Corporation, The McClatchy Company, Tribune Company and The Washington Post Company owns Classified Ventures. Classified Ventures’ objective is to collectively capitalize on the revenue growth in the online classified advertising categories of automotive, apartments, and real estate. Gannett’s various positions in the verticals are sometimes held by the company itself, often in collaboration with McClatchy, Tribune, and other newspaper companies, and sometimes held by Classified Ventures. In this section, we will take stock of what they own in which vertical, and how those online properties are doing.
CareerBuilder founded in 1995, is owned by Gannett, Tribune, and McClatchy. It is a job site where users can search or post jobs and resumes, gather information about companies and seek career related advice from experts. The site has 400 million monthly page views and over 21 million monthly unique visitors. The site averages more than 1.5 million job postings per month. Microsoft bought a minority stake in the company in May 2007.
The site has 1,200 partners and is the number one job site in the US. CareerBuilder places help-wanted ads in Europe and Asia, as well as in U.S. markets. fish4jobs, which is 25% owned by Newsquest is UK’s most popular employment site with over 2.5 million unique visitors per month.
ShopLocal is a multi-channel marketplace, which links potential customers and the product sellers. Again, Gannett, Tribune and McClatchy own it. ShopLocal LLC is growing at 30% a year and planning inventive offerings for retail advertisers. It offers a wide range of products from various large retailers like Target, Sears, Home Depot, JC Penny and Best buy. ShopLocal has less than $100 million in revenue but has built a strong Web presence. According to Nielsen/NetRatings, ShopLocal’s home page attracted 9 million unique visitors in March 2007, up 26% from the previous year.
Apartments.com offers consumers and advertisers the ability to post their own apartments for rent across the entire network of more than 200 affiliated newspaper and television Web sites. HomeGain has over 4.5 million unique visitors a month and more than 300 partnerships, including Yahoo!, Google, MSN, AOL, CitySearch, Fox News, and more. fish4homes has a wide selection of properties for sale throughout Britain and is updated daily.
Cars.com is a property of Classified Ventures and is fast emerging as a major player in the online automotive industry. The site offers consumers comprehensive listings of products, tools and objective information to help them make informed decisions. Cars.com leverages the sales and marketing strength of its network of 200 local newspapers and television stations, and through the development of dealer products.
It has a presence in 26 of the top 30 markets in the United States and has a dealer network of approximately 4,000 single-point dealer franchises. Cars.com also offers integrated solutions to automotive OEM’s, and advertising and e-commerce partners interested in accessing automotive consumers through Cars.com’s media platform. fish4cars carries one of the largest used car databases in the UK.
Topix is a leading social news community on the Web. It is a Top 20 online news destination (Hitwise, July 2007) and links news from 50,000 sources to 360,000 lively user-generated forums. Topix also works with the nation’s major media companies to grow and engage their online audiences through forums, classifieds, publishing platforms and RSS feeds. Gannett, Tribune and McClatchy own it.
ShermansTravel is a publisher of top travel deals and destination advice. ShermansTravel has built a loyal audience among travelers who share a passion for travel bargains and values. Sherman’s Top 25, a popular travel-deals e-newsletter, reaches more than 3.5 million subscribers every Wednesday.
Mobile News / Search
4INFO is a mobile media company whose mission is to help keep people in the know, on the go. 4INFO provides free mobile search and alerts services over SMS (text messaging) and WAP (the mobile internet). By sending a text message to 4INFO (44636) or going to https://mobile.4info.net, consumers get real-time access from their cell phones to sports scores, stock quotes, 411 listings, weather updates, horoscopes and a host of information and entertainment services. 4INFO’s investment partners are US Venture Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Gannett.
The Company recently launched a local website for mothers called IndyMoms.com in Indianapolis. As the name suggests, the site is dedicated to mothers and has discussion boards, local event calendars, and
lifestyle articles. Given its early success, similar sites were launched in 29 other metro markets and annual revenue from the niche sites is estimated at $3 million per year.
Search & Marketing Services
Planet Discover provides Gannett’s local sites with deep, robust local search technology that facilitates searching for news, business listings, community and event information, local website content, display ads, classifieds, vertical content, enhanced directory listings, keyword ads, eCommerce product information, and more. PointRoll provides online advertisers with rich media marketing services. PointRoll rich media solutions accounted for a 116 percent click-through rate lift over standard banner ads and an industry-leading average of 10.8 seconds of time spent with brands in 2006.
Gaps in the Gannett portfolio
Gannett is not present in some of the most important and rapidly growing categories like finance, dating & matchmaking, gaming, music, photo-sharing, film, and sports. Of these, given its newspaper roots, Business and Finance, Personals, and Sports are likely the two most obvious areas that they should tap into next, while strengthening their positions in the Jobs, Real Estate, and Auto verticals in particular. This would mean focusing their acquisitions and deal making efforts on these segments. Their activities in Shopping, Women and Travel are less strategic, and hence, less important acquisition categories.