Rolling Stone Planning Social Network - InformationWeek

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4/16/2007
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Rolling Stone Planning Social Network

A Wenner Media executive discloses plans for a social network that allows music fans to create profiles and post "Best of" lists.

Rolling Stone magazine will launch a social networking site, according to reports from a Wenner Media executive's speech at New York University.

Journalism student Andrea Feczko broke the story on NYU's news blog last week. Rolling Stone currently features a blog, videos, podcasts, RSS feeds, a newsletter, and a link for readers' news tips on its Web site.

Feczko said that during a recent talk at NYU, Keith Blanchard, Wenner Media's executive director for online media, disclosed plans for a social network that allows music fans to create profiles and post "Best of" lists. Blanchard described the project as an "American Idol version of lists" and announced that 1,000 back issues of the magazine would be available through the Web site or via DVD sets, according to Feckzo.

The journalism student said only one audience member admitted to reading Rolling Stone and remarked that the response proves the magazine is missing its target audience. She and other students responding to her blog said they believed social networking could help in that respect.

Blanchard took his current position with Wenner Media just over six months ago. Rolling Stone didn't immediately comment on the reports Monday.

According to the magazine's Web site, 57% of its online audience is between ages 18 and 34. Forty-one percent of its online readers have broadband; 70% have shopped online in the past month; 56% have an annual household income exceeding $50,000; and 80% are online more than five times a week, according to information the online magazine provides to advertisers.

Social networking is one of the most popular online activities, with MySpace.com being the fourth-most-popular site based on the amount of time users visit, according to a recent Nielson/Net Ratings report. Gaming sites and AOL Instant Messenger held the top three spots, according to the report.

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