NEW YORK MtvU, MTV Networks' collection of TV and Web properties that target the college student universe, today launches 25 Web sites dedicated to individual U.S. schools.
Through a partnership with local search specialty firm Zvents, mtvU is essentially looking to create a series of campus-insider versions of listings sites like CitySearch or Yelp for schools such as Ohio State University. The goal is for these sites to provide not only information on local bars, restaurants and coffee houses, but also events like upcoming concerts and off-campus sorority parties.
Besides Zvents, which powers local-content sites such as Boston.com and MSN City Guides, mtvU is tapping into College Media Network, the group of campus newspapers it purchased in 2006, to help populate the new sites, which include Ohio State's osuevents.campusdailyguide.com.
"These schools are cities unto themselves," explained mtvU's general manager Steven Friedman. "Our hope is that these sites will be encyclopedic. [College papers alone] are not going to have the breadth of information. That's why we looked for a partner."
That's where Zvents comes in. The company has built a network of local publishers, providing "location-based search," which vp, marketing Paul O'Brien claims is as detailed as any on the Web. However, much of the information college kids care about -- such as where the next big party will be held -- can currently only be found off the Internet.
Thus, mtvU is also employing local campus representatives to help with each site. Plus, each site -- known as Campus Daily Guides -- will offer self-service options allowing students to publish news about events, much in the same way they volunteer information on courses and teachers on the MTV-owned RateMyProfessors.com.
Beyond the initial 25, plans are in the works to launch another 25 sites by the end of this year.
On the advertising front, Friedman said he expects both local businesses and national brands that maintain heavy local presences in select college markets to participate. "Brands like a Domino's Pizza might want to advertise in a context that is truly local," he said.