Microsoft in US newspaper advertising deal

The digital division of Advance Publications, owners of Conde Nast and string of around 30 newspapers in the US, has signed a deal with Microsoft to allow its advertisers to sell ads across the search giant’s online properties.

Under the terms of the deal, advertisers in the Advance Internet’s network will be able to take slots on the Microsoft Media Network.

The two companies have also signed a content agreement, Advance Internet will become a certified reseller of Microsoft’s search products to its advertisers, giving them greater access to a wide number of web users and further enhancing the reach of the publishing business into local markets.

Microsoft has previously attempted get a hold on the local ad market but eventually sold its Sidewalk city guide business in 1999.

The new deal will see Microsoft enter the market again. It also allows Advance access to web users beyond its own ad network while circumventing the consortium of several hundred newspapers signed up to use Yahoo’s ad network, in which participants are expected to use Yahoo’s own ads platform.

Brian Handly, general manager of Microsoft’s PubCenter, said: “The local perspective that Advance Internet offers will be incredibly helpful as we develop our reseller efforts.

“We are excited to expand content and search ads into Advance Internet’s portfolio of regional websites.”

In addition to owning Conde Nast, Advance Publications runs newspapers in more than 20 US cities, including the Birmingham News, in Alabama, and the the Star-Ledger, in Newark.

The new deal follows an number of other recent moves to cash-in on sites with local appeal. MSNBC.com, the joint venture between Microsoft and NBC Universal, annouced earlier this week that it was buying the US hyper-local news and information aggregator EveryBlock and MSN UK looking to add UK regional newspaper content to its MSN Local site.

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