TVGuide.com Unveils Bountiful Blog Content

TV fans have been creating obsessive fan sites, blogs and forums based on beloved shows for years. Now, Gemstar-TV Guide International hopes they’ll get their fix by visiting new TVGuide.com blogs instead. The company launched 65 blogs yesterday, written by its magazine and Web editorial staff in an effort to connect users with similar interests and create premium ad opportunities targeted to those niche audiences.

“We’re looking for that mix between our content and user content,” said Jay Bryant, director of online communities for TVGuide.com.

An array of blogs is dedicated to specific shows such as HBO’s “Big Love” and ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” Others are more like commentary columns in blog form, written by columnists who cover entertainment news, TV pop culture, celebrities, movies and soap operas. Users can add comments to blogs and create their own blogs on the site. Online community operating firm LiveWorld will provide moderation services.

“We’re trying to keep it simple,” explained Bryant. “This isn’t aimed at a tech enthusiast; it’s aimed at a much broader population.” Bryant noted TVGuide.com plans to build content and traffic in the next two or three months, at which time a “much more robust user community” will be launched in conjunction with the start of the fall television season.

Though display ads are running in between blog posts, no advertisers have actually purchased placements specifically for the blogs yet. Director of National Ad Sales Jim Hoos expects advertisers will be interested in targeting the blogs’ younger demographic based on the specific blogs they visit.

When it comes to attracting advertisers, the blogs “give us a lot more credibility in terms of our audience interacting with the site,” commented Hoos, adding, “As we create more and more content through the blogging we’ll be able to offer many more sponsorships around the blogs.”

Sponsorships have already run on TVGuide.com’s new WaterCooler section, launched April 4; the area highlights content (now blog content) about the previous night’s TV lineup. Kraft’s Grape-Nuts has sponsored the WaterCooler area dedicated to NBC’s product placement-laden show “The Apprentice,” on the day following the airdate. Unilever’s Dove has sponsored The Hot List section, a spot listing picks for the present day’s nighttime TV viewing.

TV Guide often sells ads across its print, Web and TV platforms. The company will promote its new blogs through those properties.

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