Pearson is spending at least pounds 40 million revamping its ft.com
internet service to pull in more ad revenue.
The company has hired US web design house Razorfish to overhaul the
Pearson says it wants to transform ft.com from an online version of the
newspaper into ’a worldwide business portal’.
The sector is becoming increasingly competitive. Pearson is up against
services such as TheStreet.Com, which recently launched a UK spin-off
(Campaign Media Business, 20 September).
However, while TheStreet is aimed at investors and share traders, ft.com
is positioning itself as a broader business information service. It is
running a pounds 7 million ad campaign through Delaney Fletcher Bozell,
with BJK&E handling media.
Paul Waddington, ft.com’s marketing communications director, said: ’We
want the site to become a business portal, somewhere people go every day
to find essential information.’
Waddington said that while there were plenty of sites with a US or
European focus, ft.com would have a truly international appeal. ’As well
as taking a global perspective on industry news, we’ll be providing more
information on people in business. We will expand the editorial content
and are already recruiting more staff.’
The site will also offer expanded versions of existing services, such as
its archive, analysts’ reports and e-mail news bulletins. ’There are
tremendous opportunities for properties like the FT on the net,’
He added that the company was spending pounds 40 million in 1999 alone.
He added: ’Our business is based on providing free content. We hope to
increase ad revenue we bring to the site.’
Meanwhile, there is speculation that CurrantBun, The Sun’s service
provider, may also be revamped. This could involve changing the name of
the site to The Bun. It is thought News International wants to identify
the site more closely with the paper.
The flurry of online activity coincides with the disappointing
performance of net stocks. Fears that web companies have been overvalued
appeared to have been confirmed this week when shares in Freeserve
plummeted to below their flotation price.