Morris announced today that it reached an agreement with LocalEdge, a Hearst Media Services company, to resell digital marketing services to local businesses in Morris newspaper markets.
Augusta-based Morris will absorb the LocalEdge offices in Augusta and Jacksonville, Fla., into its new division, called Main Street Digital. The division will contain a sales force offering mobile Web site design, video production, search engine marketing, search engine optimization and other digital products and services.
Locally, Main Street Digital will be a new venture of TAC Media, the new umbrella brand for The Augusta Chronicle, its portfolio publications and digital products and solutions.
“We think our partnership with LocalEdge is an important key element of our overall digital strategy,” said William S. Morris IV, the chief executive officer of Morris Publishing Group. “Using their successful digital marketing tools should considerably benefit our valued local advertisers.”
LocalEdge sales operations in Augusta and Jacksonville will begin to transition to Main Street Digital, officially launching Nov. 1.
Existing LocalEdge customers will continue to be served by the company and will gradually transition to Main Street Digital over the next 12 months.
“The Morris Publishing Group, which includes The Augusta Chronicle, is focused on a strategy of growth over contraction,” said Dana Atkins, the president of The Chronicle. “This new partnership with Local Edge advances that strategy.”
The transition from LocalEdge to Main Street Digital will involve a nine-person staff and 208 customers.
“TAC Media is a full-spectrum multimedia company that incorporates print, digital and visual into advertising solutions. The Local Edge partnership delivers the digital tools to embrace this transition,” Atkins said. “Main Street Digital will be a ‘division’ of TAC Media that leverages the social, local and mobile digital advertising competencies developed by Local Edge’s multimillion dollar technology base.”
Main Street Digital joins a growing network of newspapers and advertising agencies that are LocalEdge resellers, including The Dallas Morning News’ 508 Digital, San Antonio Express-News and New York Daily News.
“As one of the largest mid-sized media companies in the nation, Morris’ involvement within the LocalEdge Advantage Partnership will strengthen its digital focus on the future, improving customer engagement within the communities they serve,” said Jeff Folckemer, chief executive of LocalEdge and a senior vice president of Hearst Newspapers.
Hearst publishes magazines, including Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping, and its newspapers include the Houston Chronicle and San Francisco Chronicle.