BIA/Kelsey ILM: 10
Big Media Looks Local To Liven Web EffortsNBC, Hearst Newspapers and Advance Newspapers have each blended traditional media with new to spice up their Web sites and enrich their local content.By Michele ChandlerNetNewsCheck, December 8, 2010 7:09 AM EST
Santa Clara, Calif. — Greg Gittrich assumed a big job after joining NBC two years ago with a mandate to enliven the staid Web sites associated with the company’s 10 television stations.
“They were marketing Web sites with an aging audience,” said Gittrich, the former head of Web operations at the New York Daily News who is now vice president of digital media and editor in chief of NBC Local Integrated Media. So NBC shuttered its old-school sites, identified a growing target audience and cherry picked savvy digital talent from a variety of places, including wire services and Conde Naste magazine Lucky.
Today those innovative sites focus on a variety of topics, from shopping in New York to Chicago’s politics. While their coverage spans broadcast and digital platforms, Gittrich said, “obviously we’d never take an on-air segment and shove it on the Web site. The idea is how can we use a consistent voice and tell stories in an appropriate way.”
NBC Local’s latest Web site is the Feast, launched earlier this year in the 10 markets where NBC owns and operates television stations, as well as in Boston through a partnership with WHBH. The new sites are part of NBC Local’s strategy to offer more lifestyle content across their online networks and digital platforms.
The Advance Newspapers chain is also working to blend traditional media with the new. While they do not have a newspaper in Detroit, they launched a site for the Motor City after hearing from advertisers that it was a critical area.
“We saw this opportunity to grow audience and revenue and it’s been tremendously successful for us,” said Peter Weinberger, president of Michigan-based Advance Internet. The company operates 36 newspapers including the Oregonian, Cleveland Plain Dealer and Jersey Journal.
Sports is a pillar for Hearst Newspapers, according to Stephen Weis, vice president of digital sales for the diversified media company. Earlier this year, Hearst partnered with Bleacher Report, the Web’s largest network driven by citizen sportswriters, to create online local editions of Bleacher Report in Hearst’s four largest sports markets — San Francisco, Houston, San Antonio and Seattle.
All this interplay in local markets means multichannel media companies might be friends one day and foes the next. “On one level we are competing for audience, revenue and talent,” said NBC’s Gittrich. “The way we look at it … there are ways we can partner with traditional competitors or work with local blogs that are very good voices, we’re willing to do that.”
Hyperlocal is now become the new focus for big media players and as you can see from this article there is a continued push to aggregate existing media, both written and video along with creating original content specifically for the online properties. And a heavy integration of social media widgets which is really the whole purpose of the sites and which is what will ultimately make these properties more valuable than print and broadcast.