Homescape, an online real estate search and information site operated under a joint venture formed by five media companies, announced today that several Northern California newspapers are joining its real estate network.

The expansion follows an announcement earlier this month of a marketing agreement that will bring about 700,000 property listings associated with the real estate brands of brokerage and franchise giant Realogy to Homescape.

Five newspapers that are a part of Denver-based MediaNews Group’s Inside Bay Area Network of newspapers have already opened real estate channels on Homescape, according to the announcement, and three newspapers are expected to join within the next month.

The expansion of MediaNews’ online partnerships comes amid some gloomy news — the company this month offered voluntary buyouts to reduce its staff at 16 daily newspapers it operates in the San Francisco Bay Area, with possible layoffs to follow.

Company officials blamed the real estate downturn as a contributor, the Denver Business Journal reported, as real estate advertising is a key revenue source for newspapers. The company operates 58 daily newspapers and 100 nondaily publications in 12 states, and also maintains 75 Web sites.

Homescape is operated by Classified Ventures — a joint venture of media companies Belo Corp., Gannet Co. Inc., The McClatchy Co., Tribune Co. and The Washington Post Co. — and has a network of about 130 newspaper real estate sites across the country.

Other online companies, too, are working to build partnerships with media companies to share real estate content online. Real estate search and marketing company Trulia, for example, last month launched Trulia Publisher Platform, which allows publishing companies to use and brand Trulia’s search tools at their own Web sites.

Trulia initially launched the program with partners Kiplinger.com, Village Voice Media and AmericanTowns, and announced plans to expand to “many more online newspapers, national media sites, blogs, directories and search engines.”

Online search giant Yahoo has built a large network of media partners to aggregate and share content, and to bring Yahoo search and advertising tools to its partners’ sites. On Feb. 21, Yahoo Inc. announced that its newspaper consortium has 634 participating newspapers, including 30 percent of all U.S. daily newspapers.

Internet-based companies are projected to account for about 43.7 percent of all local online ad revenue this year, with newspapers taking in 33.4 percent, according to a report released in December by ad research company Borrell Associates.

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