McClatchy Reassesses Relationship With CareerBuilder

By: Jennifer Saba During this morning's presentation to analysts and investors at the Mid-Year Media Review in midtown Manhattan, McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt signaled that the company is reassessing its relationship with CareerBuilder.

McClatchy is currently experiencing weak classified advertising revenue, especially in help wanted. Total classified revenue year-to-date through May is down 12.1%. Employment ad revenue declined 10.2%.

"We are currently discussing with CareerBuilder changes that need to be made to make it more equitable," Pruitt told an audience at the McGraw Hill building in New York City. "We're also exploring other opportunities."

McClatchy executives said the decreases in classified are linked to unfavorable terms in the CareerBuilder agreement. When McClatchy acquired Knight Ridder in 2006, the Sacramento-based company had to renegotiate Knight Ridder's ownership stake in CareerBuilder with the two other ownership partners, Tribune and Gannett Co. In that renegotiation, McClatchy executives said, the company ended up with decreased access to select CareerBuilder products and ad contracts.

McClatchy execs pointed out today that year-to-date, online employment revenue was up 20.7% at its 11 legacy papers. At the 20 former Knight Ridder papers, the same category is down 14.4%, due to the CareerBuilder agreement. Total online employment revenue for the company is down 6.6%.

Pruitt said, "We would prefer to stay with Careerbuilder ... but we have to consider all options, which would include selling our share. But we would prefer not to."

Earlier this year, McClatchy announced it would join the Yahoo newspaper alliance, which does not include the search engine's online recruitment site, HotJobs.


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