L.A. Times To Pay $5 Million for Online Mall

The Los Angeles Times is going the extra mile, or maybe the extra $5 million (US$), to give its advertisers what they call in the ad business “added value.”

In case putting their wares on display in the nation’s largest daily metropolitan newspaper is not enough to lure advertisers, the Times plans to offer them a link from its newspaper Web site to the advertisers’ online stores.

L.A. Times parent, Times Mirror Company, announced Monday morning its Eagle New Media Investments subsidiary will pump $5 million into Internet Tradeline, Inc. this summer.

Internet Tradeline, which builds Internet stores and has outfitted many other major newspapers for online mall crawling, will develop, host and maintain a new L.A. Times Virtual Mall. In addition to linking to L.A. Times advertisers that already have their own Web sites, the new mall will enable advertisers that are not online to establish a cyber-presence through the paper’s site.

Internet Tradeline will build a free site for any advertiser that needs one and will train the retailer to maintain the store. A percentage of the transaction revenues of each store will go to the L.A. Times and Internet Tradeline for the two to split. Some advertisers will also be charged hosting fees, Internet Tradeline said.

Through its investment in Internet Tradeline, Times Mirror will gain a seat on the company’s board of directors and will increase its Internet holdings, which also include shares of Netscape and CitySearch. “Eagle New Media has aggressively identified and invested in companies that are changing the face of online media. We believe ITI meets our criteria in that regard, President Tom Unterman said.

Times Mirror, which also owns Hartford, Connecticut’s The Courant and the Long Island tabloid Newsday, will join five other newspaper groups, as well as the Boston Herald, the New York Post and several other independent papers in Internet Tradeline’s stable. The company has put more than 200 stores online through its malls, with 100 more in development.

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