The New York Times reported today that Manhattan Media, a New York publisher,
bought 02138, a magazine for Harvard alumni, with visions of expanding it into social networking and event sponsorship, and then duplicating the operation for each Ivy league school.
02138, named for Harvard University's postal code, appeared two years ago, featuring information about alumni, staff, and campus activities. Manhattan Media's president and CEO, Tom Allon said that his plan is that "this is the first of what will become eight Ivy League magazines, sites and events companies," one each for Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Penn, Princeton and Yale.
Allon (a Columbia and Cornell grad) referred to "a companion Web site that's a social networking Web site for Harvard alumni," and sponsorship of "a series of...alumni events, around the 02138 brand." He also draws the conclusion, which many readers of this blog may already have reached, that "people do share common interests when they're alumni of a university."
My first question is: do Harvard alumni need to share their common interests "around the 02138 brand"? The answer could be yes, if that brand gives them something they need, and if that something is unavailable to them elsewhere.
Harvard alumni have been doing OK overall for about 350 years. 02138 needs Harvard, but Harvard doesn't need 02138. The key, as usual, will be relevance.
Additional coverage of this story popped up earlier today from mStoner.
Web site of 02138 Magazine