Online media buying and planning platform operator Centro is going to announce it has bought once-storied local newspaper online rep firm Real Cities from The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI). Terms were not disclosed. The purchase comes as local media in general is experiencing both strong growth rates, though newspapers in particular haven’t been able to benefit much. Companies like Centro and Real Cities have been trying to tap the local online media market, with newspapers being a primary client segment.
As for what Real Cities brings to the table, it has a network with 1,800 local affiliate sites and claims a combined 44 million monthly uniques on average. For the most part, newspapers in Real Cities’ network consider its services to be complementary to their arrangement with the Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Newspaper Consortium. The Real Cities network was formed by Knight Ridder over four years ago and was absorbed by McClatchy in its $4.5 billion purchase of rival newspaper publisher in March 2006. A year later, McClatchy found itself denying rumors that Real Cities would be disbanded. At this point, though, McClatchy finds itself struggling to make a comeback amid a persistent and severe industry downturn. The need to cut costs and get a sudden infusion of capital made this a good time for McClatchy to sell off the unit.
For Centro, the purchase should help it strengthen its position as a go-between for media agencies and newspapers. Chicago-based Centro was formed in 2001, by current CEO Shawn Riegsecker after starting his career in ad sales at Akron Beacon Journal.