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A Groupon for Newspapers?

Publishers team up to offer online deals
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Newspapers, in danger of having their advertising lunch eaten by Groupon and its ilk, have teamed up to form an online deals platform.

Eight publishing and media companies are launching the common digital shopping platform, called Find n Save. The eight are Advance Digital, A.H. Belo, Cox Media Group, Gannett, Hearst Corp., MediaNews Group, McClatchy, and The Washington Post Co.

The consortium, set to be announced today, is expected to roll out Find n Save’s online ad products across its members’ 200-plus newspapers, including The Dallas Morning News, Arizona Republic, and The Miami Herald.

Newspapers have been racing to catch up for a while with the likes of Groupon and its copycats, including tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Yahoo, which have been slapping deal-finder services on their websites. Christopher Tippie, the acting CEO of the consortium, said what makes Find n Save different is that it lets newspapers collect multiple sales services into one section of its site. He said the consortium also wants to standardize the process of buying online preprint circulars.

“It’s an industry movement to embrace a single advertising platform,” Tippie said. “We’ve got to come together and bring forth a better set of advertising tools to connect with shoppers.”

An early Find n Save user is McClatchy, which has a reputation for being ahead of the curve when it comes to digital, something newspapers aren’t often accused of. It uses an array of Find n Save’s portfolio of online ad products, including coupons, daily deals, and circulars. The platform also has a social element: Newspapers can embed real-time local deal feeds from shopping blogs, Twitter and Milo—a provider of retailer discount data—into the platform.