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Oct 24 2006
Yahoo! HotJobs, Newspapers Close to a Deal
This isn�t officially confirmed, but Yahoo! is apparently close to finalizing a major deal that would pair its lagging HotJobs recruitment site with a consortium of �non-CareerBuilder� newspapers. The deal has been in the works since at least July. Apparently, it has become a high priority for new Yahoo! listings head Hilary Schneider, who was recruited from the embers of Knight Ridder, where among other things, she oversaw the company�s share of CareerBuilder.

A deal would help ease the doldrums that have seized Yahoo!. Since this summer, the portal has been hit with a mountain of bad news. Its contextual search service has suffered delays, it has entered a sales slump, it suffered a bad earnings announcement, it lost market share to Google, and it "lost" YouTube to Google.

Leading the newspaper side has been Dean Singleton and his lieutenant Eric Grilly at MediaNews Group. MNG has been emboldened by its takeover of The San Jose Mercury News and some of the other former Knight Ridder properties � and its apparent inability to buy into the CareerBuilder consortia.

My source told me that as many as 12 newspaper companies have been involved with the negotiations, but as few as six may end up participating. At this point, contracts haven't been signed.

One can assume that none of the CareerBuilder owners (Tribune, Gannett, McClatchy) will �quit� the alliance to join HotJobs. Then again, some of CareerBuilder�s affiliates might. One source told me that �Dean Singleton is the ultimate pragmatist.� This source could envision that Singleton would always seek as broad a distribution for his want ads as he could: even putting ads on Monster.

HotJobs has been led by Dan Finnigan, a predecessor of Schneider�s at Knight Ridder. It isn�t clear if he will remain in charge. Whether it is Finnigan or someone else reporting to Schneider, the effort will hinge on the ability to leverage the promotional might of newspapers and their online/offline synergies.

Here�s the playbook to level the playing field with CareerBuilder and Monster (if the deal is completed). The first thing they are likely to do is to re-brand newspaper recruitment sections as �HotJobs.� CareerBuilder has done the equivalent. The second thing they�ll do is build up a national presence, probably taking out expensive national ads and other marketing. HotJobs hasn�t been a contender in this area.

Over time, they might go �a step beyond� by integrating newspaper and Yahoo! content � a step that could lead to an even broader alliance. Separately, they may also step up the site's technology. For now, however, it is apparently �all about jobs.�
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Peter Krasilovsky at  23:22 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Oct 24 2006
Whose Phone Is It Anyway?
Next time you refer to your cellphone, pause and ask yourself, �Is this a Sprint phone or a Nokia phone?� Seems a bit trivial, but how wireless phone subscribes think of their phones will become an increasingly material matter in coming years. Today�s Wall Street Journal carries an article about Vodaphone�s sourcing a Chinese company to build Vodaphone phones � hardly a surprise given that Nokia, the world�s largest maker of handsets, is also trying to earn the loyalty of wireless subscribers.

With 4G, WiMax and future multi-modal phones operating off cellular and wireless broadband networks (T-Mobile became the first U.S. carrier to test this this week), the concept of �Whose Phone Is It Anyway� will become much more top of mind than it has ever been in the past. This becomes particularly true, it seems, as you move up the device functionality curve. Have you ever heard BlackBerry users call their beloved devices anything but BlackBerry (or CrackBerry)?



Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Neal Polachek at  23:11 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Oct 24 2006
World War III
Since there have only been 13 unassisted triple plays in the history of major league baseball, it�s highly unlikely that we will see one in this World Series. Nevertheless, a lot of the talk recently has been about a different kind of triple play, consisting of voice, data and video services. Throw in wireless and you have the quad play. In an Interactive Local Media Advisory released yesterday, my colleague Michael Boland asked the question, �Triple and Quad Play: Who Will Win the Bundled Service Battle?�

Coincidentally, The Times of Trenton has a feature story today about how �Verizon is on the Verge of its $1 Billion TV Rollout� Verizon predicts that by the end of this year (yes, that�s 2006) consumers in more than 100 New Jersey communities will have an alternative to cable television. My local cable company, the third owner of the Princeton franchise, has already sold me TV and Internet, and it would dearly like me to sign up for telephone as well. So it�s a horse race between the cable companies and the telcos, and we have the marketing rule of two competing services.

This war is not likely to end up like the Beta vs. VHS, Netscape vs. Explorer or the Allies vs. the Axis. There won�t be one final winner. However, from a technology perspective, this may be as close to WWIII as we�re likely to see in the next 10 years. They can only fight on price for so long before they reach an equilibrium and that won�t be the issue. They don�t want to get into overpaying for content and find themselves in an unwinnable civil war like Sirius vs. XM.

So who�s going to generate more revenues and profits? As Mike Boland points out, the tipping point may be the fourth leg of cellular. When you combine mobile search with online local search, he argues, �These will create exponentially greater opportunities to home in on consumers wherever they are using behavioral, contextual and geographically relevant targeting.� Honestly, that sounds incredibly complicated, but what it will all come down to at the end of the day is service. There was a time, back in the Bell System days, when no one had better customer service than the telephone company. That was because every telco manager was held accountable for service, and careers were made or lost based on measurable results. Cable companies have never had customer service built in as part of their culture.

Assuming reasonably similar prices, content and quality, good old customer service could end up making the difference. But even if, as is likely, unique products and personalized features are developed by the cable and telephone giants to differentiate their products, expect customer service to play a major role.

Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  John Kelsey at  17:00 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Oct 24 2006
Mexican Telecom Enters U.S. YP Market
We recently learned that Tel�fonos de M�xico (Telmex) has acquired Enlace Spanish Yellow Pages, the largest independent Spanish-language Yellow Pages publisher in the U.S., for an undisclosed price.

Telmex, Mexico�s leading telecom and owner of that country's dominant Yellow Pages publisher, announced earlier this week that it has purchased an 80 percent controlling interest in Enlace, an affiliate of Louisville, Kentucky-based Blue Equity.

Telmex has renamed the entity Seccion Amarilla USA and will re-brand the U.S. directories with the Seccion Amarilla logo and name. Enlace publishes more than 32 Spanish-language directories in more than 18 states and offers online directories in all its markets. Blue Equity, a Louisville, Kentucky-based private equity firm, will retain an equity stake in the directory business, which it will continue to operate in conjunction with Telmex.

Telmex owns Anuncios en Directorios SA in Mexico, where it is the overwhelming market leader. This acquisition may signal a more aggressive roll-up of the U.S. Spanish language directory market by Telmex. The U.S. Spanish-language Yellow Pages market has attracted private equity capital in recent years, with Blue Equity and several rivals seeking to develop a scalable business within this niche.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  14:16 | permalink | comments [4] | trackbacks [0]










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