MEDIA TRACK: Times first out of blocks as newspapers strain to make up ground in the web race

News International last week unveiled plans to plough money into a relaunch of its Times website in a bid to transform it into the UK’s most popular online news service.

News International last week unveiled plans to plough money into a

relaunch of its Times website in a bid to transform it into the UK’s

most popular online news service.



At present, it is little more than a web version of the newspaper, but

the relaunched site is set to include virtual interviews, searchable

archives and WAP platforms by the end of the year.



NI’s plans coincide with the results of a study by Forrester Research

(Media Business, 22 May). In its survey of 49 European publishing

companies, Forrester found the majority of publishers were not

fulfilling their potential on the web because they make little or no

distinction between on- and offline content.



In the latest ABC audit, the print version of The Sun sold an average of

3.6 million copies per issue. Its sister website, on the other hand,

receives just two million page impressions a month, according to the

publisher’s statement.



In comparison, the Financial Times sells just under half a million

copies a day, but FT.com receives more than 23 million page impressions

a month.



The Financial Times is described by Forrester as an example of a ’net

pacesetter’. One of its key services lies in customisation, a feature

that is essential in making the most of the interactive nature of the

net. Interactivity is also an important feature of the Guardian

Unlimited network. Guardian Unlimited attracts just over 12 million page

impressions a month, while the newspaper sells less than 400,000

copies.



The web is important for newspapers as the traditional revenue source of

classified advertising is threatened by classified databases on the

internet that are undercutting the papers’ rates.



In addition, newspaper publishers have been concentrating on moving

their content online, while portals like Yahoo! are already one step

ahead because they offer news that is integrated with users’

personalised information.





MediaTel’s database is available at www.mediatel.co.uk. For more

information contact 020-7439 7575 or e-mail info@mediatel.co.uk.



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