Rusty Lewis is director of university relations for College Media Network, formerly known as College Publisher. Yesterday, I e-mailed him some questions about the Campus Daily Guide (see previous coverage here).
Here are his answers to those questions, unedited.
Â What exactly is the Campus Daily Guide?
Basically, the sites are campus resources for students that will also prominently feature CMN affiliatesâ€™ headlines, driving traffic between sites. They are still in development and weâ€™re working with our partner newspapers as we map out our roll-out strategy
Was this a CMN project, or something that came from elsewhere in the Viacom universe? How long has the CDG been in development?
The idea for the Campus Daily Guides originated with MTV Networks prior to the acquisition of College Publisher.Â The CDGs are still in development, and mtvU is continuing to work with our partners as they finalize plans for them.
Moving forward, what will the relationship between CDG and CMN? Are there plans to integrate the CDG with the member newspapers in affected markets? Are there any revenue sharing plans in the works? Several advisers and editors have expressed concern that CDG is “competing” with their sites for advertising dollars. What is your response to that? Do you think this (CDG) is something campus newspapers should be concerned about? (editor’s note: I sent each of these as a separate question, but they were lumped together in response)
With every guide, there will be opportunities for cross-promotion between CDG and CMN.Â In fact, we are working directly with CMN advisors in these locations to map out the best ways to partner to ensure there are opportunities for positive revenue generation.Â Some of the best and most innovative ideas that weâ€™ll unveil at launch have come directly from CMN advisors who have given us feedback on what models will work best for their local publications.Â This is an opportunity to work together.
What is your response to advisers who are upset that they were not given any “heads up” that this was going to be launched?
The guides are still in the development phase; as many details are unfolding, it was always part of the plan to have conversations with advisors and to mold the business model based off these collaborative discussions.
What has CMN been doing this week to educate their partners about CDG and what’s going on?
We are having in-depth personal conversations with the publications in CMN in the relevant markets to continue to develop mutually beneficial ways to partner.Â We have also been hosting conference calls with our CMN partners to answer any questions and concerns they might have.
What about newspapers (like the washington daily, for instance) that are not CP/CMN partners? How does MTVu plan to handle those schools and the “local news” aspect of the CDG sites?
We havenâ€™t spoken to any non-CP/CMN partners.Â We are working with the CMN partners first to ensure plans are in the best interest of our partners.
Are you at all concerned that the appearance of CDG will drive student newspapers to leave the college publisher platform?
We think that the CDGs are a great opportunity to work directly with CMN affiliates to partner for cross-promotion.