More on the Monster/NYT Deal

Following up on the previous introductory post on Monster Worldwide‘s partnership with The New York Times, there is a lot more that can be said about the deal and the quickly changing newspaper environment it both represents and contributes to. My colleague Peter Krasilovsky also had some insightful thoughts on the deal, represented below.

In short, Monster seems to have successfully positioned itself as a “4th way” for local media companies that want to keep a semblance of their own identity, while steering clear of Gannett, McClatchy and Tribune (CareerBuilder); newspaper consortia in general; and Yahoo! (in that order?).

Philly.com, under new management, was the first to hook up with Monster. Then came Freedom Interactive, the St. Petersburg Times, North Jersey Media Group and the Wilkes Barre Times Leader (in addition to the Honolulu Star Bulletin, a longtime partner). In total, Monster has struck deals with 60 dailies and eight TV stations.

Now comes Monster’s biggest take: The New York Times Co., which is set to relaunch its recruitment efforts by putting the Monster brand on 19 of its largest newspaper sites, as reported yesterday, including NYTimes.com, The Boston Globe’s Boston.com and a number of titles from New York Times Regional Group. The new branding is scheduled to go up in March.

The big titles in New York and Boston are important, of course. But the inclusion of the Regional Group  clustered in the Southeast and California  is also attractive for Monster, which needs sales presence in smaller markets. Originally, Monster thought it would focus its entire newspaper strategy on such markets.

An interesting part of this deal is a “click-to-print” feature that will allow online advertisers to be upsold to the print editions. There are complex revenue shares being worked out for all the different arrangements, but this will be interesting to watch given the question marks shrouding the marketplace about how to effectively monetize online classifieds.

Finally, the idea of a Monster partnership as the cornerstone of an “independent” strategy is a little ironic. The papers are still in bed with (a) Monster! To quote Benjamin Franklin, “those that would give up a little freedom for a little security, deserve neither” (but I don’t know that it pays to be so ideological these days).

It’s possible that NYT Co. would actually buy Monster outright. There are always rumors to that effect. But we’ll see how it goes.

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