The Chicago Tribune will introduce a new website adjunct in June called Chicago Now that has a lot of various elements: there’s social media and a blog aspect, along with e-commerce right along with general news, and even advertorial, E&P Pub’s Mark Fitzgerald reports. In describing this farrago, Fitzgerald’s item directs to Chicago Now’s promo video, in which the company says is going to be like “Huffington Post meets Facebook for Chicago.” Interestingly enough, the site is meant as a direct challenge, not just an homage, to HuffPo’s own Chicago site.
The promo also clearly states that Chicago Now will not rely on display advertising — instead e-commerce and advertorial will be its primary means of support. That seems like a pretty risky boast and it’s worth wondering how long Chicago Now will be able to maintain that stance. But with online ad spending what it its, newspaper websites can’t afford to dilute CPMs on the main site by creating more inventory for their staffs to sell.
As a brand, Chicago Now is intended to largely independent from the Trib and will replace the website that belongs to RedEye, the paper’s youth-targeted free daily. Chicago Now also follows a road the Trib has been down before. About a year-and-a-half ago, it unveiled the now defunct independent broadband video site ChicagoLive.