AOL Enters Crowded Georgetown Market
Attention, Georgetowners! There's about to be an old-fashioned newspaper war in your old-fashioned neighborhood. OK, maybe not a newspaper war. But the market for online scoops about Jack Evans' electoral ambitions, Thomas Sweet's ice-cream menu, and NIMBYish complaints about those slovenly Georgetown University student group houses is about to get a lot more competitive.
Now joining the fray: AOL's Patch, part of a growing national family of online-only news sites covering small and mid-size neighborhoods, mainly in suburban communities. (They've been multiplying like "Gremlins," according to the Business Insider.) AOL has been gearing up to launch Patch sites in D.C.'s suburbs, but Georgetown Patch is the first such site in the District. Beyond neighborhood news, Patch is building non-news components, including directory and listings.
Its already-established competition: The online-only Georgetown Dish and Georgetown Metropolitan, the print-only Georgetown Current, the print and online Georgetowner, and Georgetown University's Hoya, Voice, and Independent, among others.
The big question: Can Georgetown support such a vibrant media scene? Business-wise, will there be enough people clicking to generate the necessary pageviews to create a sustainable operation? Will there be a media bloodbath in the wake of the coming Georgetown media war?
Most crucial: Which news operation will win over the loyalty of Sally Quinn? Our bet is on the TBD-affiliated Dish, whose party at Billy Martin's Tavern was recently graced by the fabled Georgetown hostess.
(One tiny point of disclosure: Back in January, AOL's corporate recruiters approached me about interviewing for a position with the Patch family.)