ORLANDO — Concentrating on the strong points and re-focusing the business around them — that’s the direction being taken now at Freeline Media.
In addition, the company is aiming for a new look .
As advertising manager Michael Francis says, speaking from the view of potential clients, “If it just looks like another blog, why would it make sense to advertise here?
“The new site is going to be candy for the eye,” he added. “The entire paper is going to be focused on looking good.”
The Freeline Mediaparent company, Freeline Productions LLC, has been around since late 2009, when writer/editor Michael Freeman decided he needed a production company to serve as a vehicle for a play he had written. The play, titled “Hooked,” was subsequently produced as part of the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival. Freeman started the Freeline Media Web site (www.freelinemediaorlando.com) a year later, and that is where the re-focusing is happening.
When Freeman started the on-line site for news and features, he had already spent several years building a traditional weekly newspaper called The Reporter. When he transitioned to the world of on-line newspapers, he basically wrote the same types of articles that the traditional newspaper had carried (less sports), but with a wider geographic net.
As Freeman noted in a recent interview “We have about 950 articles. Pretty soon we will be at the 1,000 mark.”
On the Web site, as was true with the traditional newspaper, a lot of those articles concern entertainment, destinations, and the tourist industry. And for Freeline Media’sdirector of development, Dave Raith, that fact is key.
“We’re re-vamping his site,” Raith says. “I want to gear his page more to a niche market. I don’t want it to be just news … It’s kind of hard for a small on-line news site. This is such a digital age. There’s always going to be Goliath sites to compete with.”
Raith is still tweaking the new plan, but he sees a future where www.freelinemediaorlando.com is the site to visit for your local entertainment news. Or perhaps it will be the site to visit when you land in Orlando for a 2-week vacation and want to know your options when it comes to entertainment and side trips – and maybe even want to know developments in the short-term vacation rental industry so you have pointers on how to plan your next trip.
Whatever the final focus of the re-vamped site turns out to be, Raith expects it to happen soon, and is planning to hold a series of “re-launch parties” around Orlando.
“Word of mouth is key,” Raith notes.
“We hope by the end of the year to be a much larger magazine with a much larger advertising stream,” Freeman says.
As for Freeman and the ‘other stuff’ that will likely take a much lower profile in the new site, there is at least one additional development that will allow Freeman to remain the well-rounded writer he is.
A self-professed “political junkie,” Freeman is writing an eBook tentatively called “Halls of Justice.” If things go as planned, the book should launch just about the same time as the re-vamped Web site.
“The Halls of Justice” concerns free-speech issues and how the local courts are handling them. It was inspired by a real-life incident in the Orlando area in which a Libertarian activist was jailed for handing out informational pamphlets.
“If the court system is not the last bastion for protecting our freedom of speech, then what is,” Freeman asks.
“I am hoping to have [the book] completed and available on Amazon’s Kindle eBook site this month,” Freeman says. “In this busy political year, we are hoping that there are a lot of small-government minded people who will find it.
“I will continue to self-publish,” Freeman adds.
Contact Linda Charlton at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.