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A year after NBC (NSDQ: CMCSA) Universal’s local division launched shopping guide network The Feast, the property is being handed over to its Comcast sibling, lifestyle e-newsletter and deals network DailyCandy. The move comes a few weeks after another NBCU property, broadband video luxury lifestyle showcase, LX.TV, was also teamed up with DailyCandy.
The reasoning behind the shift is meant to get NBC Owned Television Stations (fka NBCU Local) to focus more on strictly on news amid challenges from hyperlocal outlets from AOL’s Patch to the efforts from metro daily newspapers and startups.
The Feast grew out of a blog on NBC station sites last November across 11 cities where the broadcast network has affiliates. An additional site with no ties to a local station covers Boston.
“As we’ve been making investments in our news gathering operations to deliver more local news and information, that extends to all of our platforms,” Greg Scholl, President of Local Integrated Media for the NBC Owned Stations. “For that reason, it made sense to transition The Feast to DailyCandy, where it is a better fit.”
Since relaunching the 10 local TV station websites in February, NBCU Local has been able to build a larger audience. Collectively, the NBCU local station sites logged 16 million unique visitors during the month of August, a 33 percent increase over the prior year. The sites also recorded more than 150 million page views during the month, a 35 percent boost over last year, with repeat visits growing by 43 percent.
In particular, the sites benefited from two major aspects of the upgrades. First, HTML5 was rolled out across all 10 sites, making the sites more compatible with mobile devices like iPhones, Android phones and iPads. Secondly, it introduced a new video “hub,” which helped it reach viewers when they’re away from the TVs.
Taking over TheFeast also represents additional responsibility for the lifestyle and women’s content, since Comcast acquired NBCU earlier this year. DailyCandy was itself acquired by Comcast for $125 million three years ago. TheFeast also slightly expands DailyCandy’s presence in San Diego and Hartford, two cities it had no plans to bring its brand to.
Despite its reach across 11 locations, TheFeast has a relatively small staff of about nine employees as well as a handful of freelancers. It was not clear whether anyone would lose their jobs in the handover. For now, TheFeast brand will remain as DailyCandy works to integrate the property more fully into its system, a process that should be complete by early 2012.