While many newspapers struggle to deal with readers’ migration to the web, NUVO Newsweekly of Indianapolis thinks it has the solution: combining the friending, personalization, and musical focus of social networking sites such as MySpace with the dynamically-ranked news content of sites like Digg. The latest incarnation of the paper’s NUVO.net website — which went live to the public June 14th, 2006 — raises the bar for newspaper web sites by bringing these disparate elements together in a feature called myNUVO.
“The three bedrocks of our business have always been local events, music, and news,” NUVO’s publisher Kevin McKinney explained. “This new site lets our readers participate in those conversations like never before. [The] Popularity Contest [feature] tracks their ratings on everything from our staff articles to local bands’ profile pages to individual event listings. It shows you at a glance what our readers really care about.”
According to McKinney, many of the site’s features — from friend-able band profiles to a streaming radio station playing local music around the clock — were designed to help connect NUVO.net users with local bands. “We’ve seen that a catalyst in MySpace’s growth was the interaction between bands and their fans. In designing our site we asked ourselves how we could do that better [than MySpace]. So we offer bands more free songs, custom playlists, and prizes for being the most popular during a given week,” McKinney said.
As far as bands are concerned, the early feedback has been good. The promotional promise of myNUVO has already enticed over 100 local bands to sign up for profiles. “We know that buy-in from bands is key to the success of this product. So far, they’re on board,” McKinney said.
Bands aren’t the only group NUVO is aiming to attract with myNUVO. The relaunched site also gives advertisers a variety of new options for reaching NUVO.net users. “At a time when interruption marketing is less and less effective, one of things good advertising does is connect a willing buyer with a willing seller, so we’ve tried to build our NUVO.net advertising options around that model,” McKinney said. “Take our coupon feature, for example. Thanks to the new site, we can go to an advertiser and say, ‘X number of our users have you listed as a favorite place, maybe you should sign up for a coupon?’ Then when that coupon becomes active, those users will see an icon on their personal pages letting them know it’s available,” McKinney explained. “Everybody wins!”
ABOUT NUVO — NUVO Newsweekly is an independently-owned alternative newsweekly serving the Indianapolis community. The paper covers local arts, entertainment, and social justice issues.
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