Most of Gannett's acquisitions in recent years have been about making the company more digital, but its $1.5 billion purchase of local broadcast operator Belo is a nod to the media business's main advertising driver: television.
But as McLean, VA-based Gannett goes about creating an advertising and content "SuperGroup," as the company stated in its release, Dallas' Belo can also provide the basis for a wider digital sales network, something Gannett had hoped to achieve with its former newspaper paper partners in the defunct quadrantONE joint venture.
Gannett and Belo haven't said what will happen with Belo's seven-month-old digital marketing unit, ScreenShot Digital – calls and messages weren't returned – but that piece of the business could fit with the similarly focused Gannett Local and alongside the company's other digital properties. Those properties include rich media provider PointRoll, jobs site CareerBuilder, e-circulars provider ShopLocal, daily discount outfit Deal Chicken, mobile rewards program Mobestream Media (Key Ring) and Facebook ad platform Blinq Media.
The addition of Belo effectively doubles Gannett's TV holdings. That's important for the company's digital efforts in two clear ways.