NEWS: PA launches Internet classified site with NI

News International and the Press Association have launched a joint venture company to deliver classified ads from national and regional newspapers on to a new Internet website.

News International and the Press Association have launched a joint

venture company to deliver classified ads from national and regional

newspapers on to a new Internet website.



PA News Communications will launch Classified Link UK by the end of the

year as a subscription-based service. For a flat annual fee, newspapers

will be able to feed their classified ads through to the central Link UK

site, making them available both nationally and internationally.



The individual newspaper sales teams will be responsible both for

selling and pricing the service to advertisers.



The initiative is designed to help newspaper owners stave off

competition in the classified market from the rapidly expanding online

sector. Classified ads were worth more than pounds 1.5 billion to the

newspaper industry last year.



Mark Hird, the general manager of PA Data Design, the PA’s technological

arm, said: ‘This gives newspapers the chance to win back revenues lost

over the past 30 years to directories. It is not just a defensive

strategy.’



Core product categories covered will include cars, jobs, homes and

travel. Users will be able to key in brief descriptions and requirements

to narrow the search, and online application forms will also be provided

where relevant. Added-value services will include news, entertainment

listings, profiles and discussion groups, all relevant to each specific

product area.



Richard Withey, the director of new media at News International, said

the new company, which is currently seeking a managing director, hoped

to have identified its founder subscribers by the middle of the year.



He said News International’s titles would participate fully, but that 12

to 20 other subscribers would be required before a launch could go

ahead. He hoped to have presented to all the major regional and national

newspaper groups by the end of next month.



This is the latest in a series of online deals that PA has struck with

commercial partners. It also provides news for Carling’s successful FA

Premiership Website.



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