Hearst-Argyle Looks to 'School Competition


As was first reported here, Hearst-Argyle’s ambitious sports/social-networking platform, highschoolplaybook.com, launched early this morning. Hearst E.V.P. Terry Mackin described it to us as "ESPN meets Facebook," obviously with a little MySpace thrown in too. 

Video, stats and commentary from ten high school sports will be shared on the site, which will partner with local affiliates–Hearst-owned and other–around the country.

Mackin, who played a little QB in his schoolboy days back in Richmond, Virginia, is targeting advertisers from the apparel, auto, telecom and electronics sectors, among others. The plan is to reach both local and national ad accounts, with rich-media ads that, hopefully, connect with the kiddies.

Hearst has tapped some 60 students around the country to be sideline reporters and shoot HD vid, with many more to be trained. Mackin says numerous schools have contacted him about participating in "Playbook." "Once they get a sense of what we’re doing, they’re saying, ‘How do we upload video?’" he says. "That’s been a neat part of the early experience."