Articles of the Day

Zillow, Newspapers Launch Real Estate Ad Network; Looking To Each Other’s Strengths — Last fall, 11 newspaper publishers agreed to let real estate upstart carry the real estate listings from their 282 papers. Now, the Zillow Newspaper Consortium, which includes Hearst and Lee Enterprises (NYSE: LEE), and the price-comparison site are launching a real estate ad network with the right to sell ads on each other’s sites. The newspapers can sell Zillow, with national traffic averaging some 5 million uniques monthly, while VC-funded Zillow can target local real estate users and sell some additional national inventory across the newspaper sites. Other publishers involved include Media General (NYSE: MEG) , Inc.; MediaNews Group, Inc.; Morris Communications Company, Philadelphia Media Holdings; and The E.W. Scripps (NYSE: SSP) Company. Newspapers include The Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the San Jose Mercury News. This is not to be confused with the Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Newspaper Consortium, although many members are the same. Both efforts are among the many newspaper-web experiments as national sites try to go local and publishers look for online ad growth.

McClatchy Going Private? CEO Pruitt Resigns Controlling Interest In Family Trusts — The McClatchy Co. CEO Gary Pruitt has stepped down from four trusts owned by the McClatchy family—leading to speculation that McClatchy might be looking to go private, first picked up by Alan Mutter and then by E&P reported. An earlier story in the Sacramento Bee, which is owned by McClatchy, detailed that Pruitt removed himself as a co-trustee of four separate McClatchy family-owned trusts. The trusts hold 12.5 million Class B shares, or 80 percent of the voting stuck in The McClatchty Co. Elaine Lintecum, McClatchy’s treasurer, tells SacBee that Pruitt is stepping aside because of “governance issues.” The company feels that it would be better to “break up the roles” and that Pruitt shouldn’t be wearing “so many hats.” Lintecum also says that the move isn’t a precursor to McClatchy going private, something that has been rumored for some time. Pruitt’s responsibility for the trusts has been assumed by Leroy Barnes Jr., a non-family member who has been a McClatchy director for eight years.

Google-Yahoo Ad Tie Up: Ad Trade Body ANA Opposes Deal; “Limits Choices” — The Association of National Advertisers, which represents big ticket consumers advertisers such as Procter & Gamble, General Motors, Apple and others, has sent a letter to the Department of Justice opposing the recent Google-Yahoo search advertising pact. In the letter, posted on its site, Bob Liodice, President and CEO, ANA, mentioned the organization’s opposition to the deal. It says that ANA came to its conclusions after “a comprehensive, independent analysis, which included input from the Board’s members and face-to-face discussions with Google and Yahoo”.

Microsoft’s Help Wanted: Head Of Advertising Needed, Possibly A ‘Palin’ — Since the departure of Kevin Johnson as president of Microsoft’s Platforms and Services Division in July, it’s pretty clear that the company is in need of an advertising head. AdAge handicaps some possible contenders, with one unidentified source telling the mag that Microsoft needs a “Palin”—namely, an unexpected choice similar to Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s surprise pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. Some of the names being bandied about include: Brian McAndrews, Yusuf Mehdi, Dan Rosensweig, Jonathan Miller.

Informa Rejects Lower Takeover Offer, Wants More Money — The story of the sale of B2B publisher and Datamonitor owner Informa got longer last night after it rejected a total £3.2 billion ($5.57 billion) bid from a three-way consortium of Providence Equity LLP, the Carlyle Group and Blackstone. The trio offered £1.87 billion ($3.25 billion) but would also have to take care of the company’s £1.2 billion ($2.09 billion) of debt. The 450p-a-share offer “significantly underalues” Informa chairman Derek Mapp said, in a company statement that wastes no time reminding that the consortium – before Blackstone replaced Hellman & Friedman this week – originally offered 506p per share.

RealNetworks Launching DVD Ripping Service; Will It Make Any Ripples? — DVD ripping software have been around for the longest of times, but this is a more mainstream attempt at it, and continues RealNetworks’ (NSDQ: RNWK) efforts to stir up the pot a bit: later this month it is launching a new software called RealDVD, which will allow Windows users to easily make a digital copy of an entire DVD, along with all the extras on it. It will cost $30, which will probably be a big barrier in adoption. The idea is to allow users to make backup copies for their personal use on laptops.

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