Small-scale local media brands have been given a better chance at attracting ad dollars, thanks to new alliances forming among publishers. In April 2016, four news organizations announced their new group, Nucleus Marketing Solutions, which will allow marketers to extend their geographic reach. The move follows in the footsteps of other news corporations, both in the United States and Europe, who join together to broaden their scale and draw in the types of vast advertising deals that are usually only available to multi-shore news brands like The Wall Street Journal.
Nucleus Marketing Solutions will sell ads on behalf of its partners. Each of its four current participants (Gannett Co., Tribune Publishing Co., McClatchy Co., and the Hearst newspaper group), boasts a portfolio of renowned publications, including USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Miami Herald, and the Chicago Tribune. Plans are in the works to incorporate other affiliate partners in the U.S. advertising market.
Advertisers who buy ad space from this group will gain the benefit of running campaigns on multiple digital editions of newspapers, websites, and apps. They will extend their geographic reach into the four corners of the United States, spreading their ad campaigns across more markets than they could reach by buying into any one publication.
A press release by the group claims that the network offers access to 70 percent of consumers in the top thirty advertising markets. It estimates that ad buyers can reach 168 million unique visitors by advertising on the publishers’ digital platforms. Advertisers who typically would ignore local media brands are likely to take notice of the opportunity to reach a wide-scale, national audience.
The Nucleus group resembles a European group, Pangaea Alliance, which was established in 2015. This digital advertising alliance, comprising well-known names such as the Financial Times and The Economist, was founded to enable advertisers to touch an audience of more than 110 million individuals.
Both groups provide a logical response to programmatic buying, a growing force in the industry. Programmatic, or automated, buying makes ad transactions more efficient. Advertisers buy digital ads without discussion with a media buyer, and accurate data send the ads directly to the right target audiences.
One of the best qualities of this ad-buying system is its inherent adjustability. Ad buyers can evaluate their ad campaigns mid-stream, figuring out which audience segments and times of day bring in the most viewers. Pinpointing that data allows them to fine tune their ads and then narrow their scope, so that only their most effective ads are shown. Instead of paying for a certain number of ads at the outset, advertisers who implement programmatic buying can pay for only those ads that work best.
Programmatic ad buyers want to reach the greatest possible audience in order to benefit the most from big data. By banding together, smaller newspapers can offer more to the programmatic buyers and gain ad revenue that would otherwise have been out of reach.