Media company Gannett, publisher of USA Today and other newspapers and television stations throughout the country, says it will expand its DealChicken daily deals service.

Gannett says DealChicken will be in 50 cities by the end of the year, as the nation's largest newspaper chain tries to go head-to-head against Groupon and LivingSocial.

Recently other large companies have entered or expanded efforts in the daily coupon deals space, including Google, Facebook and AT&T, but Gannett is the first large company to expand so aggressively nationally beyond Groupon and LivingSocial.

Gannett began the program in Phoenix in September and since then DailyChicken has been expanded to nine other markets, including St. Louis and Detroit.

Gannett says it is pleased enough with DailyChicken to add 50 more cities by the end of the year.

"We have local boots on the ground in markets working with merchants creating a sustainable energy," said Gannett Chief Digital Officer David Payne, in an interview with Reuters.

Similar to Groupon and LivingSocial, companies that became worth billions in just a couple of years, DailyChicken allows users to sign up to get a daily email that tells them about specific deals at spas, restaurants and local area retailers. Gannett, like Groupon and LivingSocial, takes half the revenue, and the other half is given to the merchant providing the goods or services in the daily deal.

Bret Pont, owner of Hobe Meats in Phoenix, said the DailyChicken deal he ran several months ago resulted in more customer retention than a Groupon promotion he did this year, according to Reuters. Of the 1,700 people who bought a DealChicken discount, he said 30 percent are now repeat customers.

"A lot of Groupon customers are just looking for a one-time deal," Pont said.