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Herald Interactive loses CNC

Bad news for Pat Purcell: come December 6, Community Newspaper Company will be moving its classified and editorial content from platforms run by Herald Interactive (owned by Purcell) to platforms run by GateHouse Media (which bought CNC from Purcell in May), according to an internal memo from GateHouse jefe Kirk Davis. When the change is finalized, CNC's classifieds will be integrated with classified ads from the Patriot Ledger and the Brockton Enterprise--two other recent GateHouse acqusitions--all under the "Wicked Local" heading. (To compare the CNC and GateHouse products, check out the MetroWest Daily News and Patriot Ledger web sites, in that order.)

It's not clear how much money Purcell's going to lose as a result, but it should be a tidy sum. Media Log has calls in to Purcell and Kirk Davis, the head of GateHouse's New England operations; if they provide any figures, I'll post them here. We'll see if the loss leads Purcell to build more billboards or hike the Herald's rent.

Here's the memo in question:

To: All GateHouse Media New England Employees

From: Kirk Davis

Re: Internet Plans

Date: November 17, 2006

At CNC, at The Patriot Ledger, and at The Enterprise, we know our strength is in our local focus. On December 6, GateHouse Media New England’s classified advertising will become Wicked Local. 

As you may know, Interactive has received national recognition for its creation of the hyper-local Wicked Local Plymouth website.  We want to capitalize on that success and grow through what we know is a memorable branding strategy and a quality product for our readers and our advertisers.

Combining the resources of our 123 newspapers and more than 100 websites covering eastern Massachusetts, we are creating three unified GateHouse commerce brands to replace our current Jobfind, Homefind and Carfind products.  The brands will serve the employment (Wicked Local Jobs), real estate (Wicked Local Homes), and automotive (Wicked Local Wheels) markets in the region. 

The names reflect our focus.  The strategy reflects our determination to use our unified resources to better serve the communities in our region.

Online, the Wicked Local websites (WickedLocalJobs.com, WickedLocalHomes.com, WickedLocalWheels.com) will aggregate advertising from all GateHouse Media New England properties – CNC, The Ledger, and The Enterprise.  Our award-winning WickedLocalSearch.com, already hosting general classified advertising from The Ledger and The Enterprise, will incorporate CNC’s Community Classifieds.

As many of you know, the advertising move coincides with a similar conversion on the editorial side.  Plans are well underway to move our Town Online Internet sites from Herald Interactive to a GateHouse platform.  In the past week, approximately 120 editorial staffers have been trained on the new system in preparation for a transition scheduled to take place the week of December 6.  This moves our company forward in becoming a truly integrated multi-media organization.

I recognize that making both of the shifts in the short amount of time available is a monumental undertaking.  To those in the Interactive, Editorial, Advertising, Marketing, Finance, and IT departments who have already spent countless hours on the many interconnected transition projects, you have my sincere thanks.  To the many others throughout the company who will be called upon to assist with the transition and in making our newspaper websites and our Wicked Local brands all that they can be, I thank you in advance and encourage your continued enthusiasm.

Thanks to all of you, today and every day, GateHouse is the wicked local media choice in eastern Massachusetts!


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