Zillow teams up with 11 newspaper companies

By Cory Bergman 

Real estate site Zillow (which is known for its estimates of property values) has teamed up with Hearst, Media General, Scripps, Journal Register, MediaNews and six other newspaper companies — a total of 282 newspaper sites in all. Local advertisers who post listings on the newspaper sites will have the option of posting their listings and open house ads on Zillow. And the newspaper sites will be able to post content from Zillow. “More newspaper companies are expected to join the network prior to launch,” says the press release. The launch date is Q1 of next year. Press release with more details below…

PRESS RELEASE — SEATTLE, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire/ — Leading real estate Web site Zillow.com and 11 newspaper publishing companies representing 282 newspapers nationwide announced plans today for a strategic partnership to extend local classified advertising such as for-sale listings and open house information to Zillow’s online platform.

Local advertisers who place their print and online listings with the newspapers will be able to choose to have their listings and open house ads also displayed on Zillow, one of the largest online real estate sites. Four million people visit Zillow every month, with 70 percent buying or selling a home now, or planning to buy or sell a home in the next one to two years.

Home buyers on Zillow in turn will see a more comprehensive set of for-sale listings and open house details in their market. The 282 newspapers and their online sites provide the primary source of real estate advertising in their markets. Newspapers will have the ability to use the Zillow platform to enhance their online sites with rich real estate content and information on homes, neighborhoods and value trends via Zillow’s technology.

Zillow and the newspaper companies said they expect to launch the alliance and roll out the new features in the first half of 2008. More newspaper companies are expected to join the network prior to launch.

The newspaper companies included so far in the consortium are Hearst Newspapers; Journal Register Company; Lee Enterprises, Incorporated; Media General, Inc.; MediaNews Group, Inc.; Morris Communications Company, LLC; Paddock Publications; Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; The E.W. Scripps Company; Times-Shamrock Communications and The Day Publishing Company. Newspapers include major market dailies such as The San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, The Tampa Tribune and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Reading the weekend real estate section is a ritual that many enjoy and to brokers and agents, the paper is a core marketing tool. Now, the process of real estate discovery will be further integrated into the online world. We are honored that this consortium of newspaper companies has chosen Zillow as the partner to fast-track their presence in the digital real estate world,” said Lloyd Frink, Zillow president. “Research shows that 80 percent of home buyers use the Internet in the home-buying process. That, combined with Zillow’s audience of engaged real estate enthusiasts, creates a huge opportunity for local brokerages looking to expand their reach online.”

Speaking on behalf of the newspaper consortium, Lincoln Millstein, senior vice president of Hearst Newspapers, and Gregory P. Schermer, vice president for interactive media at Lee Enterprises, described the partnership as a significant step in the national aggregation of real estate listings online.

“The tremendous local reach of our newspapers and online sites, coupled with our strong local sales forces, provides a powerful springboard for this partnership with Zillow,” Millstein said.

Schermer added, “Together with Zillow, we bring a unique and compelling set of online marketing tools to enable local brokers and agents to distinguish their listings and abilities. The result will be a compelling value proposition for advertisers and online users, which we believe will provide long-term opportunities for revenue growth.”

Many of the newspaper companies in the planned Zillow agreement are part of a newspaper consortium, which formed a year ago. The consortium began with a strategic partnership with Yahoo! for online recruitment advertising. It has since expanded to include common online advertising network distribution, online text ads, and content sharing between Yahoo! and consortium newspapers. This new initiative extends the alliance of these newspaper companies to the real estate sector. Today’s announcement is a first-of-its-kind partnership between online and offline real estate information channels.