Tag Archives: Times

Do users really want to pay for separate Times and Sunday Times sites?

The Times and Sunday Times have launched their new paywalled sites at  http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/ and http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/. But while the sites have some good features, which I was shown at a preview last night, I still can’t work out why users would want to pay for two different websites covering the same subjects …

What’s on offer?

The plan is to replace the current site – timesonline.co.uk – with two new sites, one for The Times and one for The Sunday Times. £2 a week (or £1 for an individual day) buys you access to both sites. There isn’t an option to get just one site.

The Times proposition

The Times won’t try to be a news wire – it’ll be offering fewer stories on its home page than most online newspapers with the aim being to enhance those stories.

Without the need to chase search engine traffic or page views for advertisers, the idea of covering fewer stories but in a better way sounds appealing.

Some articles, for instance, will have information graphic and tabs to let you explore the history and different aspects of the story without leaving the page. This package of content is brilliant – it works much better as an experience than lists of related articles or auto-generated tag pages.

The Sunday Times proposition

The Sunday Times site will look very different to the Times’s. It will have the sections people know from the paper. So, news, sport and  business – but also culture, style, travel, In Gear and the magazine.

The site won’t be updated much during the week – though the aim is still for it to function as a 7-days-a-week site.

But instead of trying to compete with the Times sites for news, it will offer readers the ability to browse and explore Sunday’s content over the week, concentrating on galleries, videos and interactive graphics.

Why two websites?

The decision to replace the current timesonline.co.uk site with two brands and two websites – thetimes.co.uk and thesundaytimes.co.uk – has obviously meant some thinking about how they work together.

They seem clear enough that they are two products – a daily news site and a site that you’re meant to browse all week. But it was interesting that the reasons they talked about for this were the different editorial teams, the “different but overlapping audiences”, the different values of the newspapers, and the different reasons why people buy the Sunday paper vs the weekday paper. Continue reading

UK general election 2010 – online journalism is ordinary

Has online journalism become ordinary? Are the approaches starting to standardise? Little has stood out in the online journalism coverage of this election – the innovation of previous years has been replaced by consolidation.

Here are a few observations on how the media approached their online coverage: Continue reading

UK General Election 2010 – Interactive Maps and Swingometers

Tony Hirst takes a look at how different news websites are using interactivity to present different possibilities in the UK election. This post is cross-posted from the OUseful.Info blog:

So it seems like the General Election has been a Good Thing for the news media’s interactive developer teams… Here’s a quick round up of some of the interactives I’ve found… Continue reading

OK then, I'll talk about the Times paywall

Tom Whitwell of The Times: We ARE assuming that driveby traffic will fall significantly. If it doesn't, we'll make 2 billion pounds this year ;-)

I spent a bit of time talking about the Times paywall today for both BBC News 24 and their 6 o’clock news programme (on iPlayer here). One particular aspect which didn’t make the final cut concerned how paywalls challenge the commercial decisions behind the traditional news mix, so I’ve recorded it below.

UPDATE: More thoughts:

Listen!

Google will give Murdoch what he wants if he renames the Sun as the Wapping News Journal

Has anyone pointed out the workings of Google Scholar to Rupert Murdoch? He’s going to have a fit when he finds out (first published here) …

Imagine if Google offered a deal like this to news publishers (as you’ll have guessed, this is exactly how Google Scholar works):

  • Where content is behind a paywall, Google will index it all and include it in its web results even if searchers who click through to the page are then told they can’t read the story without subscribing.
  • Google will work out which is the authoritative source of a story and show that – so newspapers breaking exclusives get priority over bloggers etc.
  • Google won’t differentiate these results in any way – searchers will think they’re going to see the content they can see in the Google results, but actually they’ll hit a paywall.

As I say, that’s exactly how Google Scholar works – but it’s not a deal that Google’s offering to newspapers Continue reading

Growth of Newspaper Twitter accounts running out of steam

English national newspaper Twitter accounts continue to grow – but at an ever slower rate, according to the latest figures for the 130 accounts I’m tracking:

The detail

These 130 accounts had 1,801,811 followers on November 2nd, up by 137,568 from 1,664,243 on October 1. Of that increase, 95,007 (or 69%) was for the @guardiantech account (which benefits from being on Twitter’s suggested user list).

(NB the Telegraph has renamed its @TelegraphScienc account, so this month I’ve restated October’s figures to be for 130 accounts – I thought it had deleted it when I downloaded the latest figures.).

The biggest mover was @MirrorFootball, up 11 places to 81st (from 455 to 809 followers), suggesting the Mirror is finally making some use of Twitter (most of its other accounts are near the bottom – and only appear to have moved up a place due to the demise of the Telegraph’s Science account).

The full spreadsheet is here or you can see the iframe below.

@Guardiantech accounts for 78% of the growth in national newspaper Twitter accounts

National UK newspapers had 1,665,202 followers of their Twitter accounts at the start of October – an increase of 193,266 on September 1st (when they had 1,471,936).

The rate of growth has slowed, however. This is a monthly increase of 13.1%, compared with 17% from August 1 to September 1, and also from July 1 to August 1.

What’s more, 151,555 of the increase (or 78% of the total) is down to just one account – that of @guardiantech (which owes its popularity to its place on the Twitter Suggested User List). Indeed, of the 131 accounts I’m tracking, 51 have fewer followers than me (@malcolmcoles)!

You can see the full table here, or below (although the iframe isn’t behaving properly, so you’re better off clicking here).
Continue reading

Cervical cancer jab: how the newspapers have learned nothing from MMR

The UK media have learned nothing from the debacle over the MMR vaccine – where they relentlessly covered stories doubting the safety of MMR, putting the lives of children at risk (this is cross-posted from my blog).

They are continuing their habit of undermining public-health initiatives with their latest scare story about the safety of the cervical cancer jab, after the tragic death of a schoolgirl who had the vaccine the same day.

I’ve given each of the mainstream media an irresponsibility rating below – the Mail and Express are the worst scaremongers, followed by the Mirror and Times.

It’s calculated as follows:

  • A headline suggesting a causal link between the vaccine and the girl’s death – there is no evidence of this so far, the two events just occurred on the same day: 20 points
  • The use of a photo or words in the headline casting doubt on the safety of the vaccine itself (as opposed to, say, this being a one-off allergic reaction): 20 points
  • Calls for the vaccine to be banned: 20 points
  • No mention of how many lives the vaccine will save: 20 points.
  • Separate comment piece doubting the safety of the vaccine, or emphasis of other stories about vaccine problems: 10 points
  • Ill-informed user comments adding to the suggestion of unsafety. 10 points

Daily Mail: 90% irresponsible

Headline: First picture of girl, 14, who died after being injected with cervical cancer jab from ‘rogue batch’

  • The headline suggests a causal link. It makes claims of a ‘rogue batch’ in quotes where the only use of those words in the story are the journalist’s own.
  • It’s running a poll: “Should the cervical cancer vaccination be suspended”.
  • There are a lot of figures about side effects – no mention of actual lives saved.
  • The best rated comment is currently “Chemical experiments on our children.” The worst rated is “Many more deaths may occur without the vaccine to guard against HPV.” The comments section is appalling, frankly – full of ill-informed anti-vaccine scaremongering.

Express: 80% irresponsible

Headline: Girl, 14, dies after taking cervical cancer vaccine Continue reading

How newspapers SEOed Patrick Swayze’s death

When news breaks, if you want to do well in Google for relevant searches, publish early, publish often and put your keywords at the front.

The Guardian's Patrick-Swayze tag page

The Guardian's Patrick-Swayze tag page

From an SEO point of view, the more stories you can pump out targeting different (or even the same) keywords, the more chance you have of appearing at the top of Google’s search results – and scooping up the traffic.

Get it right, and you can appear twice in the web results – and twice in the news results that Google often shows above them for breaking-news-related searches.

Some of the newspapers may have taken this a little bit far with news of Patrick Swayze’s death

  • The Guardian published 15 stories today (Tuesday 15th), all available from its existing Patrick Swayze tag page. Do we really need 15 stories on this?!? About half had a title that began with ‘Patrick Swayze’.
  • The Telegraph published 10 pages, and while it doesn’t have as many tag pages as the Guardian, it did feature one of its two obituaries (here and here) as a link from its ‘hot topics’ list on its home page, giving it a boost in Google’s web-result rankings. The screenshot, below, shows that it may have run out of ideas to get to 10 pages – the two bottom ones shown are very similar. Also, nine out of 10 of these stories have a title beginning with ‘Patrick Swayze’. The other is just called ‘Dirty Dancing – time of your life’. Now that is front-loading keywords.
  • The Mirror pumped out 5 pages today, and also set up a tag page at some point during the day (they didn’t have one before lunch), hoping to target the searches for ‘patrick swayze’ (yes, they forgot to capitalise it in their haste to set it up). The titles of all 5 begin with ‘Patrick Swazye’.
  • The Independent published 4 pages.
  • The Times managed just 3 pages – maybe with a paywall coming they are less interested in SEO these days ..
  • The Sun published only 2 pages.
  • The Mail published just 1 massively long story – on top of its  existing tag page for the actor. Interestingly, the paper recently claimed it wasn’t interested in celeb stories to drive traffic (although I claimed Michael Jackson was behind its June ABCe success).

The papers weren’t all that successful in their SEO efforts.

The 4th and 5th most viewed stories seem a little bit similar ...

The 4th and 5th most viewed stories seem a little bit similar ...

US sites dominated Google’s results for a search on ‘Patrick Swayze’ and ‘Patrick Swayze death’. The Telegraph did though take the top two web search spots for a search on ‘Patrick Swayze obituary’.

Keith Floyd has also died – and it was a similar story in terms of volume of stories. The Telegraph, for instance, has published 8 stories and the Guardian, via its tag page, published 9. The Guardian pipped the Telegraph to win the results for a search on ‘Keith Floyd obituary’.

If you ever want to target what people are searching for around breaking news, I recently compared the different Google tools for a search on X-factor related terms. And if you want to see SEO taken to the dark side, check out this method of newspapers and paid links.

UK newspapers add 213,892 Twitter followers in a month

National UK newspapers had 1,471,936 Twitter followers at the start of September – up 213,892 or 17% on August 1 (when they had 1,258,044 followers).

You can see the September figures (orignally posted here) below or here.

I have more Twitter statistics here.