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Summary:

News Corp.’s UK Sunday tabloid has introduced web fees. Digital editor Rachel Richardson explained the philosophy in a webchat with journali…

Rachel Richardson, News Of The World digital editor
photo: News International

News Corp.’s UK Sunday tabloid has introduced web fees. Digital editor Rachel Richardson explained the philosophy in a webchat with journalists. Here’s the edited transcript…

The reason we think we will attract customers is because our stories, videos and pictures are exclusive. We regularly break stories which set the world’s news agenda and we will be the only place where you can get the full story.

Our online audience is largely different to our paper readers so we hope the joint offering will attract more paying readers overall.

We are not announcing our targets. This is a long-term commitment and we believe our content has value and will attract a paying audience.

Daily updates, old exclusives

The majority of our content will be published on a Sunday. We will update our exclusive stories as they develop through the week. We also offer a comprehensive sport service and update match reports etc frequently. A lot of our content is timeless. Fabulous [celebrity magazine] is a great example of this, so we’re confident our site will be appealing mid-week without constant updates.

I think there are many things on the site that interest people mid-week. Who wouldn’t want to watch the riveting footage of the cricket match-fix, or Ricky Hatton snorting coke, or a behind the scenes vid of a Fabulous shoot (even Roy Greenslade enjoyed that!).

We have a constant demand for our exclusive material. We get dozens of calls every day from other media organistations who want to syndicate our video and pictures. Our content has value and is popular with our readers any day of the week

Exclusive videos, ripped for YouTube

We have some measures in place at the moment to stop sites from breaching our copyright and our lawyers will be following up serial offenders. We are also working on other measures to protect our content.

We can’t say what the security measures are at the moment. We’ve always taken copyright breaches seriously, so we are continuing to do that.

Business and ad sales

Commercial did a great job securing a launch ad partner in William Hill and they recieve majority inventory share. The other ads are supplied by ad networks, as I understand it. We took the stance that ads should be there, but that they should not interfere with a customer’s enjoyment of the site.

Reader research

We did a number of focus groups with existing notw.co.uk users and non-notw.co.uk users. We tested almost every stage of development and showed them a number of designs. Their feedback was invaluable.

We took the findings seriously and a lot of it shaped our decisions. A good example is paying by mobile. We knew there would an appetite for non-card payments that were quick and simple, so we put a lot of effort into that.

Quick Flick and ePaper were also the results of readers telling us they enjoyed a ‘newspaper’ experience.

Design changes

We are really pleased with the design. We wanted it to be cleaner, with more white space, be able to use pictures with impact.

We also were keen to make the site very easy to navigate and wanted to give our customers a really great reading experience. We want them to feel like they have read the newspaper… hence Quick Flick.

Loyalty

Value is very important to our readers. We have a loyalty scheme already with Captain Cash. This has proved to be very popular and we intend to grow this so that our subscribers are rewarded for their loyalty to us.

Newsroom resources

We have a core team of 10 in digital, and this expands depending on workflow. I’m very lucky to also have dozens of world-class journalists in the newsroom providing content for the site.

This article originally appeared in News Of The World.

  1. Funny enough I see this as a slightly more of a tragedy to retaining ‘a well informed world’ than the Times having also closed their door to all but paying guests. I think anything, of importance, I have read in the Times I would have picked-up on, sooner or later, via some other means.

    Not because of all the meaningless celebratory claptrap but because, just very occasionally, every now and then, NOTW news reporters actually reveal important angles on subjects and appear to be less fearful of placing certain truths into the public domain (or are not so well briefed).

    For example: Raoul Moat [apparently] used a saw-off shotgun to shot himself dead, through the head, with a fishing weight [which was found in the hood of the garment he was wearing. He is reported to have variously modified the shotgun cartridges he used] a fact only reported via the News Of The World. The relevance of this is considerable if you have been following the story in detail and especially with the most recent ramifications concerned with the death/apparent-suicide of Peter Boatman: boss of Taser’s UK distributor, who were the importers of the new, unapproved, Taser XREP shotgun used to fire at Moat (without correct officer training), in the moments preceding his death, the XREP 12-bore size Taser projectile – a projectile of about the same size and weight as a …. well I think you have got it!.

    On the other hand; in a search of my many thousands of browser books-marks, this is actually the only NOTW one. So I guess the world will have to do without their scraps of news from now on.

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  2. Daniel Botten Friday, October 22, 2010

    “We regularly break stories which set the world’s news agenda”

    Yes, Ricky Hatton snorting lines of coke in a Manchester hotel had everyone talking around the world.

    Not.

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  3. James Harding is taking the risk based on economic principle. “…what we (newspapers) had was a sort of suicidal form of economics, that is – giving our journalism away for free.” In the long run I believe the paywall makes sense, IF, and only if the content is good. http://bit.ly/b0gV9q

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