Byline: Scott Cendrowski
Jul. 31--In the capricious world of celebrity journalism, the rules of competition have changed.
Like so many other things, the battle has moved online, and that's got companies such as Boca Raton's American Media Inc. scrambling.
"We know people are obsessed with celebrities.... If they buy the Star during the week, we know three days later they want to know what happens," said AMI President John Miller, whose company publishes tabloids and consumer magazines such as Star, The National Enquirer, Men's Fitness and Shape.
"So we see online as a much better way of delivering those bits of information and news that we're breaking."
Traditional publishers such as privately held AMI can no longer rely on a tweaking of color palettes or a layout redesign every five years to attract -- and hold -- today's celeb-tracking citizen.
The numbers tell the story: TMZ, a 7-month-old site that features videos and photos of celebrities, racked up 3.5 million different visitors in June, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.
The Web site for Star, which also focuses on celebrity gossip, got a makeover July 5 with the launch of a more colorful picture-oriented format. AMI says it plans to relaunch all 16 of its magazines' Web sites by year's end.