Yahoo Inc. today announced partnerships with more than 150 daily U.S. newspapers to deliver search, graphical and classified advertising to consumers.

The new alliance will begin with recruitment advertising using Yahoo! HotJobs, and then Yahoo will start providing search, content and local applications across the newspapers’ Web sites.

The arrangement is expected to boost exposure for newspapers’ local content. Yahoo plans to offer its search tools to newspaper Web sites, as well as local products like Yahoo! Local listings, Yahoo! Maps and Event Listings. Newspapers will also be able to use Yahoo’s technology to sell online advertising on newspaper sites, and newspapers’ content will be distributed via Yahoo’s search and news portals.

“We believe the local segment is largely untapped and provides significant opportunities to expand audience engagement and subsequently grow local advertising,” said Terry Semel, chairman and chief executive of Yahoo Inc.

The newspaper groups in Yahoo’s new arrangement include Belo Corp., Cox Newspapers, Hearst Newspapers, Journal Register Co., Lee Enterprises, MediaNews Group, and The E.W. Scripps Co. Newspaper editions in the consortium reach 38 states, and include major market dailies such as the San Francisco Chronicle, The Dallas Morning News, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Houston Chronicle, Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, San Jose Mercury-News, New Haven Register and the Commercial Appeal (Memphis).

Top executives at the newspaper corporations called the partnership a “transformational deal for the newspaper industry.”

“This relationship will significantly extend our local assets to a much wider audience, and gives us the technology required to fulfill the growing demands of advertisers and consumers,” said William Dean Singleton, CEO of MediaNews Group, and Victor F. Ganzi, president and CEO of Hearst Corp., in a joint statement. MediaNews Group and Hearst were founders of the consortium along with Belo, Lee and Scripps. The consortium continues to recruit other newspapers to join.

The local online advertising opportunity is significant. According to Bank of America, the U.S. online advertising segment is predicted to grow from an estimated $3.4 billion in 2006 to an estimated $12.4 billion by 2010. And, according to the Kelsey Group, 35 percent of all online searches are local, with volume expected to increase from more than 20 billion searches in the next year to more than 30 billion searches by 2009.

Monday’s announcement follows a similar move by Yahoo’s rival, Google, which said that it has formed partnerships with more than 50 newspapers, including The New York Times and Washington Post. Google’s plans include offering its advertisers space in partner newspapers.

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