11/13/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Google, Yahoo Become Newspapers' Allies

NEW YORK ( -- As the dignitaries and ad executives visited New York late last month for the U.N. General Assembly and the fifth annual Advertising Week, a less conspicuous group gathered at Hearst Tower on Eighth Avenue. They represented most of the 784 newspapers now collaborating with Yahoo, a competitor in other contexts, to sell ads and attract readers. It was their third meeting -- and the first since Yahoo introduced a platform letting members sell ads across its sites as well as their own.

Unusual enthusiasm developed. "It was very clearly an upbeat meeting," said George B. Irish, president of Hearst Newspapers, whose San Francisco Chronicle recently adopted the new platform, called Apt.

"It was excellent," said Leon Levitt, VP-digital media at Cox Newspapers. The company plans to start using the platform at its Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Austin American-Statesman. Its business selling display-ads online will grow 20% to 25% this year, Mr. Levitt said, but going up on Apt should help double that rate next year. "We realize now it's time for us to execute."

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