Five of the largest U.S. newspaper chains are considering a new national ad network that could both overlap and compete with the Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) newspaper consortium, according to the Chicago Tribune (via Romenesko). Sources “familiar with the situation” tell the Tribune that its parent company Tribune, Gannett, (NYSE: GCI) Hearst, MediaNews Group and Cox Newspapers would create a common ad sales force to provide “one-stop shopping” for ads on major market newspaper sites, including seven of the top 10 U.S. markets. It would try to attract other majors as well, including the Washington. Post Co. and McClatchy. Or, as Leon Levitt, VP-digital media for Cox, told the Trib: “The more the merrier.”
If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a variation on the theme of the Yahoo consortium established last year — the same one that already includes Hearst, Cox, MediaNews, McClatchy, (NYSE: MNI) Belo (NYSE: BLC) and more than dozen others. But Gannett and Tribune, co-owners of HotJob’s rival CareerBuilder.com, have stayed away from Yahoo. Levitt and others tell the Trib all is well with the consortium but Yahoo isn’t the entire answer. Yahoo isn’t newspaper only, it makes deals with competitors like Comcast, (NSDQ: CMCSA) newspapers should tell their own story, own their own future, etc.
Could this hurt Yahoo? Far too soon to tell — but it could divert energies and attention at the various companies trying to do both.