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L.A. Times Media Group forms joint venture with U.S. Local News Network

The Los Angeles Times Media Group and U.S. Local News Network Inc. have formed a joint venture that will include launching two news websites aimed at readers and advertisers in Orange County.

The venture, which will be announced today, will allow the companies to share content and advertising sales across the sites -- www.theocnow.com and www.oclnn.com -- and those of three existing Times-owned local newspapers in Orange County: the Coastline Pilot, the Daily Pilot and the Huntington Beach Independent.

“We’re thrilled to be a significant ally to the Los Angeles Times Media Group and be at the forefront of what we see as the future of how local news will be covered and consumed,” said Neil Senturia, chief executive of U.S. Local News Network.

The Los Angeles Times Media Group will own and operate www.theocnow.com, while U.S. Local News Network will own and operate www.oclnn.com. Senturia said both sites would launch in early February.

News content on oclnn.com, known as the Orange County Local News Network, will come from four staff journalists employed by U.S. Local News Network. The site will also include stories from Times Community Newspapers and local freelance writers.

The O.C. Now website will focus on coverage of countywide issues, with feeds from the Los Angeles Times breaking news blog, L.A. Now, Senturia said.

The companies have invested about $1 million in the venture, Senturia said. He declined to provide revenue projections.

Editorial and advertising teams for both onlnn.com and theocnow.com will be based in the Times’ Costa Mesa offices, he said, and will cross-sell advertising across the websites and newspapers.

The Orange County site is the third developed by U.S. Local News Network. Last year it launched the San Diego News Network, www.sdnn.com, and the Southwest Riverside News Network, www.swrnn.com.

Senturia said San Diego-based U.S. Local News Network planned to develop a national network of 40 local news websites over the next two years.

“Instead of owning 50 newspapers, the next media baron will own 150 news websites, and that’s what we intend to be,” Senturia said. “That’s the goal.”

The Los Angeles Times Media Group is owned by Tribune Co. Chicago-based Tribune and the U.S. Local News Network are both privately held.

nathan.olivarezgiles

@latimes.com


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