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Back in the mists of time, when newspaper executives thought it best to launch online by creating new brands (think Electronic Telegraph, Guardian Unlimited, icWales), London’s Evening Standard created ThisIsLondon, its big portal play. Today, though, publisher Associated Newspapers reorganised its online offering in a move that sees the Standard finally reassert its supremacy. Where once the Standard was merely part of the ThisIs portal, from today that’s reversed, with the portal becoming merely a component “channel” underneath the Standard.co.uk site itself, MW says.
It looks like the restoration of a serious news-focused slant to the Standard’s online strategy. ThisIsLondon’s 2006’s repositioning as an entertainment portal, heavy on celeb content and content from the London Lite freesheet, had downplayed the Standard as an online brand, but a year ago Associated decided to restore the paper’s credentials with a dedicated Standard.co.uk site of its own. That march moves farther today, from when ThisIsLondon.co.uk visitors are redirected to a Standard.co.uk that includes the once-dominant portal as a mere sub-brand. Trinity Mirror (LSE: TNI), to, has also been abandoning many of its “ic” sites in portals in favour of their individual newspaper brands, while Guardian and Telegraph have dropped the “Unlimited” and “Electronic” for a mere “.co.uk”.
ThisIsLondon will be retained as the entertainment and listings adjunct – on par with the paper’s Homes & Property section. It reported 2.3 million unique users in March. Associated’s online unit AND said goodbye to MD Andy Hart in July.