Tag Archives: Chris Hendricks

Newspapers Going Private Label Route for Deals

McClatchy Newspapers surprised everyone last July when it opted to let the fox into the chicken coop by signing up with Groupon for local deals.

At the time, McClatchy Interactive head Chris Hendricks saw it as a net plus for both companies. “They’ve got their space,” but McClatchy offered Groupon more “entry points” to readers and deals, he noted.

Tellingly, Hendricks also said that the limited commitment was a net plus. “We have a lot of stuff going on,” said Hendricks. “An affiliate marketing program fits in better,” and “lets us get out of the gate.” Similar logic was apparently used by Media General and Tribune, which signed with Groupon around the same time.

Now, McClatchy appears to have found its sea legs in the deals space. While it will apparently maintain a relationship with Groupon, it has opted to invest heavily in the white label route via Second Street Media’s Deadline Deals platform, which now serves over 150 publishers.

In a statement, Hendricks said –without commenting on the fate of its relationship with Groupon — that a private-label deals platform is a perfect fit with FindnSave, Travidia’s deals-and-offers portal that will eventually launch in 21 of McClatchy’s 28 markets. FindnSave pairs daily deals with other offers, such as weekly sales, coupons and grocery cents off offers.

McClatchy isn’t the only newspaper company with news in the deals space. Hearst Newspapers announced last week that it would join Media News Group and Freedom Interactive as partners of Analog Analytics, which says it now serves 850 local media properties. Freedom’s Orange County Register recently did over $188,000 on one deal (a heavily discounted boat ride to Catalina Island).

Group Commerce Inc., similarly, recently announced a deals partnership with The New York Times Co, among other media companies.

Groupon, McClatchy Team for Daily Deals in 28 Markets

Groupon announced today that it will work with McClatchy, the third largest newspaper chain, in 28 McClatchy markets. The rollout begins this month in Sacramento and Kansas City. Other McClatchy markets will be added over the next several months, possibly including titles in Ft. Worth, Miami, Charlotte and Raleigh.

Like Living Social’s earlier deal with The Washington Post, the deal is based on McClatchy’s powerful local promotion capabilities. Groupon deals will be promoted throughout newspaper websites in contextually relevant sections (i.e. dining). Print promotion, however, is not part of the deal at this point. Sales also aren’t part of the deal, which is non-exclusive. Other media companies can sign with Groupon both in McClatchy markets and outside of it.

Groupon appears very likely to announce other local media deals in the near future – a likelihood driven by the efforts of Business Development VP Sean Smyth, a longtime local media vet with Tribune, Metromix and other local media companies. In general, there is recognition that Groupon has developed a presence in several McClatchy markets without any brand assistance. Groupon will, however, develop custom versions specifically for McClatchy readers.

At our Marketplaces conference last March in San Diego, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason said that his early vision was to team with The Chicago Tribune, his hometown paper. But he soon realized that Groupon could roll out faster and with more editorial independence by working solo and relying primarily on telesales. Now, Groupon expects to surpass The Tribune’s circulation in Chicago by year end. But evidently, newspapers local promotion capabilities remain a strong incentive for partnerships.

McClatchy VP Chris Hendricks tells us that he sees a net plus for both companies by helping promote Groupon. “They’ve got their space,” but McClatchy offers Groupon more “entry points” to readers and deals, he says.

The deal also enables maximum flexibility for both companies. Conceivably, the Groupon deals could be included in a product suite, he says. The limited nature of the deal, and limited commitment, is also seen as a plus. “We have a lot of stuff going on,” says Hendricks. “An affiliate marketing program fits in better,” and “lets us get out of the gate.”