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
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
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