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Tribune Co. makes advertising deal with Dallas Morning News

Tribune, the parent company of The Times, will sell national print and online ads for the Dallas paper. The companies say making it easier for advertisers to buy in multiple markets could help sales.

July 02, 2009|Jerry Hirsch

In a bid to leverage its advertising sales infrastructure, the parent company of the Los Angeles Times has reached an agreement to sell national print and online ads for the Dallas Morning News, the flagship media division of A.H. Belo Corp.

The move is part of an effort by newspaper companies to fight off a massive decline in advertising sales in recent years that pushed Tribune Co., the Chicago corporate parent of The Times, KTLA-TV Channel 5, the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers and television stations, into Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization last year.

"We are going to take advantage of what we have built as a company to give advertisers access to the top markets in the U.S. You add Dallas to Chicago and Los Angeles and you have three of the top five markets in the country," said Don Meek, president of Tribune365 National Solutions Group.

The agreement will enable the Dallas Morning News to "be a stronger, more strategic partner with advertisers who are based outside of Dallas," said John McKeon, president and general manager of the Dallas Morning News.

Buying newspaper advertising across regions can be complicated because publications typically have different deadlines, ad sizes and color capabilities.

Centralizing the system through a single clearinghouse will make such purchases easier for large advertisers and could increase advertising sales, Meek said.

Total U.S. newspaper advertising revenue plunged 28% in the first quarter, with both print and online businesses suffering big declines, according to the Newspaper Assn. of America.

Print advertising sales fell 29.7%, compared with the first quarter of 2008, to $5.9 billion. Online advertising revenue for newspaper companies decreased 13.4% to $696.3 million.

Tribune and its creditors are in the early stages of negotiating a reorganization plan in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Sources said that plan probably would transfer control of the troubled media conglomerate from Chicago billionaire Sam Zell to a group of large banks and investors that holds $8.6 billion in senior debt.

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jerry.hirsch@latimes.com

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