Telegraph.co.uk Putting ‘Three C’s Before ABCes

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By Mercedes Bunz: Telegraph Media Group‘s digital editor has signalled a strategic change for the publisher’s online business, moving away from chasing the maximum number of web users to focus on the “three Cs”: content, commerce and clubs.

Edward Roussel said the “three Cs” strategy would apply to news and features content on Telegraph.co.uk, which he oversees. But also to the work of Project Euston, TMG’s entrepreneurial digital venture being set up by Will Lewis, the company’s editor-in-chief and managing director, digital.

Up to now TMG has focused primarily on growing its digital business by increasing traffic to Telegraph.co.uk. This strategy is coming to an end, though, according to Roussel. “One way that the media industry has followed in the past was the link between increasing traffic and increasing ad revenues. That connection broke around March 2008,” he said.

“The big focus for us now is yielding a sustainable business model. Rather than focusing relentlessly on the aggregated numbers of unique users and page impressions, we are now looking more at channels,” Roussel added.

From now on Telegraph.co.uk will focus on the three Cs, he said: “Content, commerce, and clubs.”

Roussel will be involved in some of the things Project Euston is doing, but not all will focus around news.

“Euston is not a private club where only certain people can operate. It is designed openly. We have done it so that any one of our over 500 journalists who has a brilliant idea can apply for funding and other resource, and try to make it a reality,” he said.

Roussel will swap his desk at TMG’s Victoria HQ “one or two days a week” for Euston, home of the digital project that has been up and running for three weeks. In his view journalism must become more entrepreneurial. “In the UK, display advertising on the web is a £1bn business, and it is stagnating. E-commerce on the other hand is a £50bn business, and it is vibrant. That is one of the challenges,” he said.

“The big emphasis for us is now to look at areas to which we want to give special focus. In December, Telegraph.co.uk had 100% growth rate in technology, travel, fashion and culture, and we plan a push in education,” Roussel added.

“Increasing the traffic in those channels, we equally drive up revenues there as well. We want to drive those areas harder to make them commercially attractive. In addition, fashion is a really interesting area for us that we will look at more closely in the future.”

Roussel is fascinated by the style of e-commerce employed by sites such as Net-A-Porter.com, which he uses to illustrate his plans. Net-A-Porter.com combines editorial content

This article originally appeared in © Guardian News & Media Ltd..

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