Every Day Is Mother’s Day: Newspapers’ Local Turn To Moms For Local Boost

Before this year, moms could have issued a plaintive “You never call, you never write…” to newspaper sites and other major media companies. But now, everyday is practically Mother’s Day, as media outlets have recognized an eMarketer stat: 86 percent of moms go online at least once a month, versus 68 percent of women in general. Earlier today, Gannett (NYSE: GCI) announced it was taking a minority stake in online family organizing tool Cozi, and this week, DisneyFamily.com began promoting its new parent-focused community site. And last month, reports swirled that Warner Bros TV Group was considering taking its MomLogic site to TV (though the company sources deny this.).

The Cozi investment could help Gannett as it stitches together an ad network of its 60 local mom sites over the next month. WSJ offers a look at the mixed record Gannett and other newspaper sites are experiencing with regard to their recent focus on online moms.

Sorry, Mom: Now that it’s built up its local moms sites, Chris Saridakis, Gannett’s chief digital officer, says the newspaper publisher’s goal is to have those properties produce half their ad revenues from national sources. Right now, national contributes 35 percent to the local moms sites. But there’s a number of drawbacks to banking on moms sites (apologies to moms out there). For one thing, most of these sites are likely to remain too small to perceptibly offset newspapers’ revenue woes. Secondly, while moms do use the web more than women overall, the time they spend on a given site is fairly attenuated as mothers don’t have a lot of time on their hands.

Too many moms?: Lastly, while it’s great to recognize moms, the space is becoming increasingly crowded, with sites all vying for the same advertisers and readers. Gannett defends its efforts against these larger trends by claiming 25 percent gains for year-over-year traffic on its established moms’ sites like Indianapolis’ IndyMoms, with about half the audience coming back at least once a week.