A press release says the website
“will be centred around the same type of great video found in Monkey, while also encouraging readers to interact with the site by posting their own ratings and exchanging comments on the clips. The website will also offer daily content not found in the mag, competitions and exclusive chances to vote for what you want to see featured in upcoming issues.”
Richard Downey, Publisher of Monkey is quoted as saying:
“The launch of the Monkey website is an integral part of growing the Monkey brand. We want the website to really add value to the reader’s ‘Monkey’ experience, hosting fresh content and providing a way for readers to share their own comments, and ratings. Monkey is all about interaction and this site is a really important part of that. It will be an extension to the weekly magazine, keeping the conversation going with our readers between each issue.”
What’s weird about this is that Monkey already is a website – and yet Downey talks as if it is a print product. In many ways it is: the experience is very much like those PDF or Flash magazines and newspapers, complete with animated turning pages (in fact, you might say it is an application rather than a website, which is probably why it’s easier to launch a completely new site than adapt the magazine).
Where Monkey has been successful (it launched in November 2006 and has recorded three successive rises in unique users since launch, the latest at 271,667) is its integration of video and links to elsewhere on the Web – and the fact that its content and audience naturally lends itself to those (unlike the almost identical and unsuccessful Jellyfish).
So why shunt your readers off to another website “just for them”? Who’s the online magazine for? (Thinking about this I realise the new site will probably ‘contain’ the magazine in the same way the URL currently does. Not ideal, but not a ghetto either)
Why only publish once a week when you’re not subject to printing and distribution constraints – and then create another space for conversation “between each issue”?
Why can’t they have that conversation on the online magazine?
As long as the money continues to roll in, I suppose there’s no need to ask.