Regional publishers start online classified services

The UK’s leading local newspaper groups have teamed up to create a series of consumer Websites aimed at shoring up their domination of classified advertising.

The Fish4cars, Fish4jobs and Fish4homes classified sites went live last week. The sites complement the online directory service Fish4it (www.fish4it.co.uk), which aims to help users locate local businesses.

The Fish4 sites have been developed by six regional newspaper groups: Newsquest Media Group, Northcliffe Newspapers Group, Trinity Mirror, Regional Independent Media, Bristol United Press, and Guardian Media Group Regional Newspapers. They will also provide services for nine additional subscriber newspaper groups, including Newscom Kent Messenger, Johnston Press and Associated Newspapers.

The sites claim to have access to classified advertising covering 80 per cent of the UK’s regional press, and to currently hold 1.9 million listings.

The move amounts to a relaunch of the ADHunter sites (AutoHunter, JobHunter, Property Hunter). ADHunter was backed by key players of the Fish4 venture, which began roll-out of its sites in 1997.

According to Jonathan Turpin, chief executive of This is Britain, which is managing the roll-out of the Fish4 services: “Fish4 shareholders will be investing more than &£30m in funding and &£30m in regional press marketing for the venture over the next three years.”

The Manchester office of CIA Media Solutions has been appointed to handle the media planning and buying for the launch campaign. Bentley Advertising and Design are the creative agency.

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