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Access Network operates College Media Network: What does this mean for college newspapers?

Access Network College Media NetworkEveryone’s favorite student newspaper website provider College Media Network has traded hands again. (OK, maybe not everyone’s favorite.) Formerly operated under the umbrella of MTV Networks, the providers of College Publisher software are now operated by Access Network Company after being purchased by a private investment firm.

This change in operations makes sense. Access Networks is all about local, and there aren’t publications that are much more local in terms of audience and geography than student newspapers. Campuses, like my former one, are smaller even than neighborhoods so the coverage becomes that much more hyperlocal, i.e. Did you hear that fire alarm in the hall last night? What was it?

So what does this mean for the hundreds of student newspapers powered by CMN?

We know:

  • The friendly College Media Network staff will stay on board under the new ownership.
  • Student newspapers will be able to make a foray in mobile publishing with Access Networks’ technology.

What we can surmise and good questions to keep in mind while CMN is working everything out:

  • Out-of-the-box SEO will continue to suck for partner newspapers. Don’t believe me? Google Access Network Company and you won’t find a link to their website on the first page…or for that matter, on the second page either. Search for keywords relevant to their business, like mobile online city guide software and you might find some related press releases, but still no website. If they can’t optimize their own website, it’s hard to believe the resources will be there for their new acquisition. College Publisher has long had SEO issues like poor user control over title tags, absurdly slow page loads and bad markup once the kids get to playing. SEO isn’t everything, though.
  • Will those despised ad placements and the MTV ads that often fill them disappear? Access Networks does not seem to be an ad network, and may not have the sales staff in place to fill inventory on hundreds of college newspapers.
  • It would make sense that the content will need to migrate from MTV’s servers to whatever Access Network has set up. Migrations of so many domains and content can be messy (story of my life right now).

Anyone have any other questions, answers or ideas?

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