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Inside Gannett’s Digital Transformation: Why 20,000 Influencers Are Suddenly Part Of Their Ad Offering

Gannett, the media company behind USA Today and over 200 local publications, is making a significant push into influencer marketing. On Friday, the company announced a new partnership with OpenSponsorship, a platform connecting brands with over 20,000 athletes, musicians, and online celebrities.

As Sportico reports, this collaboration allows Gannett to offer advertisers access to OpenSponsorship’s creator community alongside traditional ad placements on its own sites. In return, influencers gain promotional opportunities within Gannett’s media outlets and potential involvement in company events and marketing initiatives.

The move comes as Gannett continues its digital transformation. The company reported an 8.1% increase in digital revenue for the first quarter of 2024 compared to the previous year, with online sources now accounting for approximately 42% of total revenue.

According to Sportico, Gannett’s workforce has undergone significant changes, with a 47% reduction between its 2019 merger with GateHouse and the end of 2022. However, the company’s stock price has doubled over the past year.

OpenSponsorship, founded in 2016 by Ishveen Jolly, has attracted notable investors, including Serena Williams’ Serena Ventures and David Blitzer’s family office. The platform streamlines connections between athletes, brands, and now, traditional media outlets.

This partnership aligns with Gannett’s strategy to focus on successful verticals, particularly sports, as Chief Content Officer Kristin Roberts noted. The company recently partnered with to drive referral traffic to sportsbooks.

Cecilia Carloni, Interview Manager at Influence Weekly and writer for NetInfluencer. Coming from beautiful Argentina, Ceci has spent years chatting with big names in the influencer world, making friends and learning insider info along the way. When she’s not deep in interviews or writing, she's enjoying life with her two daughters. Ceci’s stories give a peek behind the curtain of influencer life, sharing the real and interesting tales from her many conversations with movers and shakers in the space.

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