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Newspapers to counter Yahoo, Google on online ads

The country's three biggest newspaper publishers are partnering on selling ads on their Web sites in a counter to efforts by Yahoo and Google, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Gannett Co., McClatchy Co. and Tribune Co., known together as "GMT," are planning to team up to sell ads on their Web sites in an effort dubbed "Open Network," according to unnamed sources cited by The Wall Street Journal.

A Gannett spokeswoman confirmed the report to Reuters.

The newspaper industry is struggling to increase revenues with online sales amid drops in print subscribers as people increasingly get their news from online sources.

Late last year, Google through its online ad sales system as part of a test. Then Yahoo to sell online classifieds. That deal is being expanded to include development of a national ad sales network, the WSJ report said.

The GMT effort "marks a big new bid to win back advertisers that are defecting in droves to the Web. Currently, national advertisers buy the bulk of their online display ads--banners and boxes--from big portals such as Yahoo Inc., Time Warner Inc.'s AOL or Microsoft Corp.'s MSN," the report says. "Efforts by the chains to coordinate their print-advertising sales have shown little success, partly because individual papers weren't enthusiastic about standardizing ad sizes or giving up control of their relationships with advertisers. But with the industry under severe stress, that reluctance to band together may change."