Jun 2, 2020 - Economy & Business

Exclusive: Washington Post makes major move into local news

People entering the Washington Post building in D.C. in 2019.
People entering the Washington Post building in D.C. in 2019. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The Washington Post has signed all 30 of McClatchy's local news outlets to its Zeus Performance product, a software that gives sites better speed, ad view-ability and performance, executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: By adding more local news outlets, The Post can start to build a local news ecosystem within its tech stack.

  • The deal comes roughly a week after The Post inked a partnership with the Local Media Consortium, which represents 3,500 local media outlets from 90 media companies. The Post already works with several local TV stations and newspapers, like the Dallas Morning News and Seattle Times.
  • "With that scale, we can begin to experiment with creating new products and business solutions catered to local news," says Jarrod Dicker, VP of commercial technology and development at The Post.
  • One idea that's been floated could potentially be a single sign-in mechanism for a bunch of local sites.

Details: The partnership, in which McClatchy pays The Post a fee to license its software, will deliver a better ad experience to McClatchy sites.

  • McClatchy Vice President and Head of Advertising Nick Johnson says that the Zeus partnership will primarily help the network of local news sites deliver more viewable ads — ones that load more pixels faster.
  • "The benefit of this for local is particularly that it will allow national advertisers to execute big campaigns in many markets uniquely," says Johnson.

The big picture: Many bigger media and tech giants see ample opportunity in local news and advertising.

  • The Post is looking to build out its network of premium sites so that it can eventually create an ad network that it hopes can compete with the likes of Google and Facebook.
  • Vox Media launched a local ad network in conjunction with Google earlier this year.
  • Amazon, as Axios noted last week, is looking to potentially tap into the local audio ad network.

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