NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) is widening the purview of its local TV stations’ sites, even as it tries to downplay the sites’ identities as broadcast extensions. The sites, which are being relaunched around station sites in nine cites, are being encouraged to develop their individuality and not have a uniform look and feel. And to achieve that, the sites will go beyond the 6- and 11 p.m. newscasts to begin aggregating content from outside bloggers and news sites. From an ad standpoint, John Wallace, president of NBC Local Media, said that this is all an effort to attract a more narrow group of “influencers” to the sites.
The announcement is seen as part of a gradual move to establish the TV station sites as hyperlocal hubs in cities such as LA, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and New York. The New York site will be tied to NBCU’s forthcoming 24-hour cable news channel and to its out-of-home network, that includes video screen in the back of taxi cabs, in malls and at gas stations. Release