Media Companies Abruptly Shut Down quadrantOne

And another grand plan by major publishers bites the dust. Tribune, Gannett, the New York Times Co. and Hearst have shut down quadrantOne effective immediately. The agency was an attempt to scale local for national display advertising, harnessing the power of the four owners and others. The abrupt website notice

Important Information About quadrantONE

To all of our valued partners:

As a result of the many changes that have occurred in the digital advertising marketplace over the last several years, the owner companies of quadrantONE have decided to seek different paths for national display advertising. As a result, quadrantONE will wind down current operations.

We’d like to take this opportunity thank all of our affiliate and advertising partners who have worked with us over the last 5 years. It has simply been our pleasure to serve you.


The quadrantONE Team

Chicago-based QuadrantOne launched five years ago this month as some of the leading newspaper publishers looked for ways to capitalize on their local reach by providing advertisers with ways to target across organizations. Joint ventures, particularly in the competitive media space, are notoriously difficult. Often the betting is on how long they will last, rather than can they succeed. In that respect, Q1 went a little longer than I might have expected, especially with Tribune’s financial woes and the management changes across the various companies.

Update: David Kaplan, who covered quadrantOne in depth for paidContent and knows the ad exchange biz upside down and sideways, has a piece up now at AdExchanger:

One cause, according to sources, was bickering among JV partners, including over the investment they would be willing to contribute to the company going forward. …

The disintegration could – in part – be attributed to growing internal programmatic strategies that create better yield than the assumed scale of the co-operative. Also, this may be a sign that exchanges are creating better yield these days. Why manage a separate exchange when you can go through existing exchanges such as Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange, PubMatic, Rubicon Project, AppNexus and so on, and receive comparable or better CPMs.

See comment above about JVs being “notoriously difficult” — then add in the usual problems of startups and the rapidly changing ad marketplace.

Disclosure: My brother Billy Kramer worked for quadrantOne in 2010-11 but is not one of those who lost their jobs with no warning today.