Peter Kafka

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Gawker’s Next Redesign Thinks Big–Like Big-Screen TV

For better or worse, Nick Denton’s Gawker Media leads the way for a lot of online media. So it’s worth checking out what he has up his sleeve, which happens to be in plain view: A super-sized redesign of his nine-blog network.

You can see what Denton is up to by visiting his “beta” sites, which are open to the public:,, etc.

Check out the difference between’s current homepage and the beta version and you’ll get the basic gist: Instead of a river of stories floating down the middle of the page, there’s one big one, a couple of secondary ones and then a menu bar linking to the rest of the site.

But if you really want to see where Denton is headed, make sure you find one of his pages featuring super-sized art. You can get a sense from these screenshots (click to enlarge), but it’s really best to visit the individual pages, where you’ll see that these images take up the full width of your screen:

This is where Denton wants to end up: stories–and ads–that fill up your screen. Sound familiar?

“Web media needs to move to TV metaphor–with full-screen imagery and other content interrupted with full-screen ads,” he tells me via email.  “Everything right now is so, um, bitty.”

Which is funny, because Denton’s last redesign shrank lots of elements on the page so he could cram more stuff in. You’ll still see evidence of it today on his sites, with the occasional headline-only story. And if you look around the blogosphere, you’ll find plenty of people following suit. (Even All Things D has introduced something we’re calling a “newsbyte.”)

But plenty of Web-ad sellers have been pushing super-sized stuff for some time now–see the ginormous ad units that the Online Publishers Association pushed out last year or Yahoo’s (YHOO) transformation of its login page.

And in the last few months I’ve seen a new ad unit on Huffington Post and Business Insider that fills my entire screen with a short video ad before sending me along to my “free content.” Just like, um, TV.

So Denton is either on to something here or maybe even a little bit behind the curve. That can’t be right, can it?