CareerBuilder loses Tronc sites, pivots radically

06 Sep 2016

This article was emailed to AIM Group clients of Classified Intelligence Report 12 hours before its publication on the site, as part of our paid advisory service. For more information about becoming a client, click here.

On the same day the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and other Tronc-owned newspaper websites announced they switched their job boards from CareerBuilder to software powered by RealMatch, CareerBuilder announced it was making a “transformative move” away from its job-board roots by buying post-hire software vendor Workterra.

The developments today (Tuesday) showed more major changes in the fast-moving recruitment classified environment — following closely on the August announcement of the planned acquisition of Monster Worldwide by Dutch human resources staffing provider Randstad, and the June acquisition of SimplyHired by Recruit Holdings, the parent company of Indeed.com

Newspapers owned by Tronc, the renamed Tribune Publishing company, have co-branded their job sites with CareerBuilder for almost 20 years. However, CareerBuilder has been moving steadily in the past few years away from its original role as a job board towards a service-as-a-software (SaaS) model focusing on “end-to-end human capital management”.

RealMatch sensed an opportunity; Tronc was apparently happy to make the move.

Significantly, CareerBuilder took the shift in stride and there are no hard feelings.

“Our affiliate agreement with Tronc expired and we are in mutual agreement that it is best to go our separate ways moving forward,” CareerBuilder’s director of global corporate communications Michael Erwin told the AIM Group.

“We have had a long successful partnership with the Tronc newspapers that was mutually beneficial — especially in the early days of print classifieds moving online, but the size of the partnership has been declining for years along with the decline in print recruitment advertising,” Erwin added. “We wish Tronc the best moving forward.”

RealMatch president Terry Baker told us that the transition has been in development for several months, but that the initial relationship with Tronc launched a year ago, when Tronc began distributing job listings through RealMatch’s JobNetwork.

“We proved our performance,” Baker said, “demonstrating to recruiters that they were getting as much – if not more – traffic on TheJobNetwork as on CareerBuilder.”

Baker described the Tronc win as “a watershed event and another demonstration that the old guard is changing.”

Baker told us RealMatch has also been siphoning off former Monster.com newspaper affiliates. The number is now “in the triple-digit range,” he said. The New York Times jumped to RealMatch in July 2015 from Monster, and 30 digital newspaper properties owned by BH Media Group, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Winston-Salem Journal moved to RealMatch in December 2014.

RealMatch clients use their own web branding on newspaper recruitment pages; the company emphasizes programmatic advertising and network distribution of job listings.

Other Tronc brands joining RealMatch include The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, the Orlando Sentinel, the Hartford Courant, and The Morning Call in Allentown, Penn.

Tony Hunter, president of national revenue and strategic initiatives at Tronc, said RealMatch will “expand the reach” of Tronc job postings and should make “an exhaustive process more efficient and effective”.

CareerBuilder has lagged behind aggregators like Indeed in recent years and, in an attempt to differentiate its offering, has pivoted towards a SaaS model. The acquisition of Workterra, announced today, fits that direction.

Workterra offers cloud-based benefits administration and talent-management software. CareerBuilder said in its news release that the purchase “will significantly expand CareerBuilder’s product offering beyond recruitment into post-hire solutions and complete CareerBuilder’s evolution into a full-fledged human capital management company.”

CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson called it “a defining moment.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CareerBuilder began its transition away from its job board focus in 2015 when it began pushing a new “pre-hire platform.” The company is jointly owned by Tegna, Inc., Tribune Media and The McClatchy Co.

This article was emailed to AIM Group clients of Classified Intelligence Report 12 hours before its publication on the site, as part of our paid advisory service. For more information about becoming a client, click here.

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Brian Blum

Brian Blum covers the U.S., Canada and Israel for Classified Intelligence Report, and contributes to our special reports and research projects. Originally from San Francisco and now based in Jerusalem, he has been with the AIM Group since 2004. He is the president of Blum Interactive Media, specializing in writing and multimedia content development for online, print, video and audio. His clients include newspapers, universities and non-profits. He is currently working on a book about the billion-dollar bankruptcy of a once high-flying Israeli startup.