Interview: Lem Lloyd, VP, Yahoo’s Newspaper Consortium: Reticent On Results, But Wait For AMP

Despite a little hint from Staci about the need to start sharing some real results from the Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Newspaper Consortium, Lem Lloyd, the Yahoo VP in charge, maintained the company’s official reticence during an interview.

Lloyd assured me that they are passing along consistent revenue boosts, but would only offer the “how,” not the “what.” It’s not rocket science, Lloyd says: The few local newspaper companies that cited membership in the Yahoo Newspaper Consortium as a reason for their online revenue success are mainly benefiting from the expanded national ad sales provided by the association with Yahoo Hotjobs. Lloyd: “What they could have done was set higher rates, given the added distribution of their recruitment ads. Also, they could raise their rates since they can offer more media recruitment products than they used to be able to.”

Getting AMP-ed: Yahoo is betting that it will be offer its members higher revenues once its aaudience targeting product AMP is released in Q3. Currently 60 newspapers are involved in a pilot program or are beta testing selling DMA-targeted Yahoo inventory. This already allows members to aggregate inventory and gain a larger reach. As a result, local papers can achieve “the kind of reach that only local broadcast could rep. This is going to open a lot of ad budgets that was heretofore denied to local newspapers.” Once AMP is up, the transactions will be managed on the platform.

QuandrantOne, a rep, not a rival: Back in March, barely a month after its debut, national newspaper alliance QuadrantOne signed up 26 Yahoo Newspaper Consortium members. Lloyd insists that Yahoo doesn’t consider QuadrantOne, which is backed by New York Times Co (NYSE: NYT). and Tribune, Gannett (NYSE: GCI) and Hearst, a rival. Lloyd: “There are so many components to the consortium. Members get distribution, technology, access to HotJobs, they can sell Yahoo inventory and we can sell their inventory nationally — and that’s all QuadrantOne focuses on. The newspapers use a lot of other rep firms like Real Cities or Centro for their national sales — and QuadrantOne is just another rep firm. ”

Going after the other 60 percent: With yesterday’s additions, the consortium now has 779 newspapers from 32 companies under its umbrella, giving it 41 percent of all Sunday circulation. So there’s still more to go. “We’re continuing to talk with a lot of newspaper companies and as we have more real results to share, the other newspapers out there are becoming more interested in setting up a demo and exploring a relationship. We’re confident that we’re going to strike deals with some pretty large players.”

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