Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, March 05, 2021

Geez, I’m not gone a month from my longtime media playground, and it pulls an online fast one. Tampabay.com, formerly the home of tbt*/Tampa Bay Times and, prior to that, the St. Petersburg Times entertainment melange, will now serve as the Internet umbrella for all (or most) of the Times Publishing Company’s publication websites, including the flagship newspaper.

In a sense, this positions the Times to compete more directly with Media General’s Tampa Bay Online/TBO.com, which has been aggregating the Tampa Tribune and WFLA Channel 8 news offerings under a single brand. This evens things out on a regional basis for the Tampa Bay area. I can only guess that people in Hillsborough, Pasco and other counties were somewhat averse to turning to a site labeled “St. Petersburg”.

The Times is going beyond just that, though. By integrating Florida Trend, Congressional Quarterly, and Governing, it’s really throwing everything it’s got into this online venture. Those publications have statewide and national scopes, far beyond the mainstream audience that a general news portal would expect to draw. I’m guessing this an experiment to see what will stick and what won’t under this tentpole, especially in terms of drawing advertising.

As far as my insight on this, as the former webmaster for FloridaTrend.com: I had no idea this was coming. There’d been talk over the years about setting up a sort of business portal that integrated all of Trend’s regular and annual publications, but there was never enough momentum to actually get it going. Trend had a regular spot on the Times’ online Business section, but it was a pretty low-impact thing (even though quite a bit of traffic would come to the Trend site from there). Not sure if it’ll change much on the Trend side, or any of the other magazines; I imagine it’ll be business as usual, with just feeds and links appearing on the mothership site.

I guess this solves the mystery of why the now-daily tbt* was given a new, shorter URL a few months back.

Will this work? Certainly, TBO.com’s been chugging along for years now. I can only guess that it’s easier to sell pageviews for an all-in-one site to advertisers than it is to subdivide between newspaper, gussied-up forums, business magazine, etc.

Still, personally, I’d prefer the separation among equals. Call me a creature of habit. Then again, since I’m no longer a Tampa Bay resident, what does my opinion matter?

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/05/2021 07:47:33 PM
Category: Internet, Media, Florida Livin' | Permalink |

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