Fox Interactive Media, the home of MySpace, Fox Sports, Fox News and other sites, definitely has local on its agenda and is rolling out several new features to bring users more in touch with their communities, says Dan Strauss, VP and general manager, who was speaking on a panel at the NAA Marketing Conference in Las Vegas.
Strauss, who got his start in local 12 years ago as the first head of Advance’s Cleveland.com, says one of the company’s biggest local-themed projects is a “news discovery” area for MySpace, which should launch in a couple of months. My Space already has a nascent local classified area. “It’s not just newspapers, but blogs.”
Another related FIM effort (perhaps the same effort?) is MyFoxLocal from the sports division. Soft launches have already occurred for MyFoxLA, MyFox Chicago and one or two other markets, he says. “Fox News will be involved too, says Strauss. “We’re helping communities cover stories.”
Meanwhile, newspaper sites appearing on the NAA panel with Strauss said they are working to complement MySpace’s appeal to young people with local offerings. “Local matters,” says Bakotopia GM Dan Pachecho. Bakotopia is the youth-oriented site for The Bakersfield Californian, a family-owned newspaper in the Inland Empire community. He notes that people will want to interact with other people and businesses that are nearby.
Pachecho says the company is in the midst of rolling out a Yelp-like “Insider Guide” that will contain profiles on local businesses. He sees the guide as a natural extension of a MySpace-like personal profile section. “If a user can create a profile, why can’t a restaurant? Why can’t people review that restaurant?”
One advantage that his company has over non-local rivals is that it has established multiple access points for Bakersfield residents, he adds. “Businesses can interactive in nine ways” over its nine sites, says Pachecho. The company is also mulling over new revenue ops, such as charging businesses to send out targeted text messages.
(My colleague Mike Boland has much more play-by-play coverage from the convention. Check out his previous posts.)