Metromix: As more sites launch, how’s the pace?

[Rochester: a recent screenshot of its Metromix site]

Gannett and Tribune Co. announced an important partnership in October 2007 under which the two publishing giants would roll out a collection of entertainment websites called Metromix, aimed at 21-to-34 year-olds with “significant” disposable income. The goal was to spread the sites to more than 40 other markets — including the nation’s top 30 — by the end of this year; most of those new sites presumably would be where Gannett publishes papers or owns TV stations.

Now, nearly a year later, I’m wondering how the rollout is going — and what sort of impact it’s having on GCI papers that already have started their site. The Indianapolis Star, for example, is getting closer to replacing its award-winning Indy.com entertainment site with Metromix. The paper, now advertising for a new editor of digital content, said Monday that the new version would become the Star‘s “lifestyle channel,” according to a post by Indy.com’s Joey Fingers.

“Sex & Relationships, Money, Work, Tech & Gadgets, More Style and Fashion, and some other freaky little things,” Fingers wrote. “We will still be handling the local entertainment coverage, don’t worry. We just get to pull in their national content, their iPhone app, their Facebook Widget and so much more of their wholesome goodness.”

As Indy prepares to join the Metromix chain, I notice the sites are now in 26 markets — up from five when the Gannett-Tribune partnership was signed. Across Gannett, they’re now in Cincinnati; Des Moines, Detroit, Honolulu, Louisville, Nashville, Reno, Rochester, and Springfield, Mo.

To reach the year-end goal, of course, GCI and Tribune will have to launch in 14 more markets at a time when Gannett has fewer newspaper workers than it did when the two companies hooked up. That’s gotta be a further strain on editorial and ad sales staff, no?

One of Tribune Co.’s papers — the Chicago Tribune — started what is now Metromix, a collection of short stories and event listings focused on nightclubs, restaurants, TV listings and other stuff do do. When the partnership was announced, Metromix was already in New York, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Orlando, South Florida and other markets where Tribune Co. owned papers.

Like Gannett’s “moms” sites, and the growing number of new “pets” websites, Metromix aims to create a uniform collection of niche sites where ad sales staff can sell both local and national advertising. The national ads presumably would be made easier to sell because of the sites’ uniform design across all markets. (For the same reason, Gannett’s papers have now adopted identical G04 website templates.)

Existing worksites with Metromix: What’s the impact been since you launched? Other sites: When are you scheduled to Metromix? Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

[Image: today’s Star front page, Newseum]

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5 Responses to “Metromix: As more sites launch, how’s the pace?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    metromix will launch soon, like this month now that we’re into October, in Phoenix with something like a $250,000 promotions budget, that’s what’s on the grapevine here, where the 44″ web just launched, and new emphasis in alt-story forms and lifefstage “prisms” for Rep’s community papers.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I may be wrong, but I just can’t see this really catching on. There are so many social networking sites out there now, and people this age are primarily involved with Facebook and MySpace.

    I don’t know if the site is designed for them to post pictures on it or if the editorial staff is supposed to take the pictures and put them on the site, but I can’t really see people using this like Facebook when they already have Facebook.
    It seems like an idea that was created by people who don’t already socially network.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    In Louisville, traffic is sweetened by (sometimes) salacious pix from area night clubs, which is a continuation of the sitch from the old Velocity site.

    Those photo galleries provide a useful glimpse into the decadent psyches of the local post-frat, monied set, though I doubt that social critique is the reason Metromix posts them.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    In Reno, money for a new full-time employee to run Metromix was allocated, so existing news staff was not burdened further.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    In Phx, though, we’re told that we’lloperate Metromix and maintain our online entertainment channels. The same staff will do both. Maybe not quite double the work, but no new resources

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