Thursday, March 24, 2005

US publishers buy 75% of web news monitor

The New York Times reports that three of the largest newspaper publishers in the US, Gannett Company, Knight-Ridder Inc, and the Tribune Company are collaborating to buy 75 per cent of is a Web site based in California that monitors over 10,000 online media news and government sources. The specific price of the acquisition has not yet been disclosed, but each publisher will own 25% of the company with itself retaining the remaining quarter.

Though the site already keeps tabs on news from the three publishers, the recent acquisition will allow the company to better attract advertisers. In return, the newspapers’ websites will get more fine-tuned technology and more customized ads.

Chief executive and a co-founder of Rich Skrenta explained that his company’s technology can make ads more profitable by placing relevant adds next to articles.

Following other purchases in the industry, including that of MarketWatch by Dow Jones & Company and that of by The New York Times Company, this acquisition marks another attempt by publishers to broaden their reach and profit from online advertising.

It's interesting that while AFP is busy suing Google for copyright infringement these US companies see the value in search sites that aggregate news content. In Australia Fairfax has developed its own version of a news aggregator - Newsbreak.

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