Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) will expand its display ad sales deal with local TV station operator Belo Corp. (NYSE: BLC) to 15 of the Dallas-based broadcaster’s markets. With local TV stations struggling to attract ad dollars almost as much as their newspaper counterparts, a number of affiliates having trying to turn to online ad sales for additional support. At the same time, Yahoo has been focusing more on the local ad markets where it has existing ties to newspaper publishers and the idea of adding more TV station website sales partnerships is part of a wider strategy to turn around its weaker than expected revenue numbers.
Yahoo’s display advertising revenue in total was up 5 percent to $467 million in Q2, but as CEO Carol Bartz noted during the corresponding earnings call, the company’s Americas display ad dollars were were flat and within the U.S., it was actually down.
Last week, Belo, the TV station sibling of the newspaper company AH Belo (NYSE: AHC), posted weak revenue results as well.
The deal between Yahoo and Belo combines the broadcaster’s local sales programs and with Yahoo’s online reach, which is second only to Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and continues to grow. According to the most recent comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) numbers, Yahoo had 178 million uniques in June, a 27 percent increase year-over-year.
The question is what took this deal so long, since Belo has been providing Yahoo with video from its stations for several years. The answer is that until TV advertising started weakening, Belo didn’t see much gain from building up its station website sales — the company says that last year, it saw double-digit increases in station site display ad dollars, but it didn’t offer specifics — and Yahoo had mainly been concentrating on building up its partnership with the roughly 800 members of its Newspaper Consortium.
Over the past year, Yahoo has signed TV station display sales deals with Gannett (NYSE: GCI) and Media General (NYSE: MEG). TV station websites represents an area of potential growth for Yahoo as it races against AOL’s hyperlocal network Patch to capture that market.