The new website for entertainment and nightlife is up and running today.
I know, you’re thinking: We’ve had a website for entertainment and nightlife for years and I’m looking at it right now, CtNow.com. But sharp-eyed internet viewers may have noticed that ctnow, for all the promotion it once received, was summarily dismissed without fanfare some weeks ago.
No, it didn’t take the buy-out.
It went the way of the Fax Paper and the Call-to-Hear-A-Columnist-Read-A-Column.
In a decision that didn’t that wasn’t first told to, for example, people who write for the page every single day, it was phased out, as they say.
Its replacement is now just the Entertainment page of the Courant.com website. As usual, there are updated headlines about entertainment round the clock, lots of information about nightlife, restaurants and weekend events, movie and music reviews and the like, and even blogs from people like me.
But apparently it wasn’t sufficient for all our readers.
Instead, The Courant has glommed onto Metromix, a national website in gloomy dark colors and a name that sounds like a snackfood for city folk.
What about Metromix is so different from the Courant Entertainment page, you might ask?
Well the lead item on the inaugural page of the Connecticut version of Metromix is about Hangover Havens – "hit up these spots for some tasty grub while you try to piece together what happened the previous night."
The story itself, should you click to it, is actually an item that lists five breakfast places – none new to me or to you. It’s just packaged to appeal for drunken youth, that cherished demographic we’ve been chasing so long.
Think I’m fooling? The other three featured items on the inaugural page involves late night happy hours (again, only five mentioned); Real Art Ways’ monthly Creative Cocktail Hour (an event that gets no little publicity each month); and a "hookah lounge" in New Haven (see? It’s not all about drinking!).
When somebody in advertising finally told me about Metromix, she promised it would be "much younger" than the Courant entertainment page -- so different from our page it might as well be in another language.
Still, there seems to be nothing there in music or TV sections you can’t catch here, it’s just couched in more cloying jargon (of "30 Rock," it says: "this show does funny like no one else").
We’ve done our bits on the same shows; reviewed the same titles; even the lineup of TV news is exactly the same one you get on the Courant entertainment page. (Ours is just not specifically packaged with drunks in mind).
If there’s a generic quality to the look and layout, it’s only because the Connecticut Metromix TV page is exactly like the ones found in Chicago, Orlando and Baltimore. Even the ads on the Connecticut Metromix page for its lead story on hangover hangouts are for things like Chicago BYOB Restaurants, Craigslist Chicago and Chicago Needlepoint.
There is a more serious complaint to all of this of course (though I like think I do funny like no one else).
The idea that "young people" the corporate fathers have in mind to snare are some sort of entertainment-obsessed slackers who have no interest in anything else going on the world than bar closing times and not enough focus to follow any story longer than seven paragraphs (Unlike you, patient reader!).
The idea seems to be: Put in a lot of drinking stories and try to sell them a Chevy truck.
Undercutting their own online entertainment page, on which many of us toil thanklessly, and steering audiences to a dimmer, generic national one that "skews younger" only portends worse things coming to your newspaper eventually.