NBC Local to Relaunch Station Web Sites

In a marked departure from the common practice of TV station Web sites serving as adjuncts for the on-air product, NBC Local Media is relaunching its station Web sites to more closely resemble city sites.

The approach, dubbed “locals only,” will include content from the TV stations, but also from wide variety of local sources–including print, online and bloggers–to provide a destination for local consumers in the market. Even the Web site URLs will change to reflect the more local focus such as nbcchicago.com and nbclosangeles.com.

The new sites will roll out in four phrases throughout the month, beginning Monday afternoon (Oct. 13) with Chicago. Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco will launch Oct. 16, followed by Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. on Oct. 27 and New York and Hartford on Oct. 27.

“Our goal was to create a new type of user experience that’s less an extension of our TV stations and more of an online destination for the latest local news information and entertainment,” said John Wallace, president for NBC Local Media.

Several NBC stations have already experimented with locally focused niche sites, such as digphilly.com in Philadelphia and yourlatv.com in Los Angeles. The new “locals only” sites will have a broader range of content, targeting what NBC is calling “social capitalists” who are “highly social, digitally savvy and extremely interested in staying on top of the local news and information,” as well as interested in “the trappings of urban life such as music, food, fashion and museums.”

NBC intends to aggregate content from the best available sources by linking to outside content providers or content provided by consumers in the market. The new sites will have an
entirely new look and navigation interface with text, videos and blogs.

NBC’s new city-centric Web sites are part of the division’s goal to transform its business and provide more local content across multiple platforms. As part of this strategy, NBC acquired LX.TV and Skycastle Entertainment to produce local lifestyle content, launching earlier this month new weekend shows across NBC’s 10 O&O stations.