Posts Tagged ‘Independent’

New Online Strategy For The Inde

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 by Mark Hanson


The battleground between the big mainstream media providers, or newspaper groups as they used to be called, is well and truly online. The Guardian and then the Telegraph were the pioneers and it was between the two of them for a while. It all changed when Rupert Murdoch belatedly joined the fray, after previously ignoring the growth of the internet by sticking his fingers in his ears and saying ‘lah lah lah – I can’t hear you!’ whenever it was raised by staff.

The laggard was always the Independent, whose previous editor, Simon Kellner, never saw the point of providing a free product that would give regular readers an excuse not to pay for the newspaper. However that’s changed and Kellner poached Jimmy Leach from his PR company, Freud. Leach was a key player in the original Guardian online revolution, so it will be interesting to watch developments at the Inde.

One of his first acts has been to use a ‘pull’ strategy to serve audiences. Media consumption happens in different contexts now and its much more immediate. The Telegraph has responded with enhanced web content, video, podcasts, they even trialled an an electronic newspaper with a round-up of the day’s news. Almost like a newspaper looking to deliver itself through many different letter boxes.

They also have a very sophisticated Google strategy, flooding the market with search friendly news so that people will find them almost not mattering what they search for. So its never United, it’s always ‘Manchester’ United as that’s what people search for. References to Paris Hilton are squeezed in to economic stories, everything they can do to tempt Google.

The Inde is taking a different approach. The younger, metropolitan audience takes a more pick n’ mix approach to taking in media and does it throughout the day, so the strategy is to get into as many feeds as possible.

The feeds pick up relevant content, when its generated by the Inde’s news operation and distributes it automatically to the correct feed. Anything related to the US election will go onto their Twitter/US election feed and may also find its way onto their Twitter/news feed. As the audience grows it will be interesting to see if they experiment with a bit more personality to build more of a community and an ownership of the brand amongst users in the way that brands such as Starbucks and Dell are doing and Channel 4, which has a similar audience profile to the Inde, have started to do.