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
In comparison, the Financial Times sells just under half a million
copies a day, but FT.com receives more than 23 million page impressions
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
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’
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