View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. Publishers
  2. Digital Journalism
November 5, 2013updated 07 Nov 2013 4:17pm

Sunday People launches seven-day Buzzfeed-style website entirely funded by ‘native advertising’

By Dominic Ponsford

Trinity Mirror today launched a stand-alone seven-day website for the Sunday People which is entirely funded by ‘native advertising’.

This means that the site will carry no display advertising but has instead signed up a number of commercial partners whose products are promoted within the editorial content.

The site is the brainchild of Trinity Mirror's director of Sunday brands Sue Douglas. She previously led a consortium which had sought to buy The People and revamp it in the spirit of the now defunct News of the World.

Douglas declined to be drawn on exact editorial numbers but said the site will start off with three daily shifts of six people working seven days a week.

Sunday brands digital director Joely Carey is heading up the site and other key members of staff include Charlie Courtauld, former editor of Frost Over the World for Al Jazeera, and former night editor of the News of the World Harry Scott.

Like Mail Online, has its own separate editorial team and different ethos from the paper. Douglas said it will cherry pick stories from the print edition but will use them in a very different way.

Last week Douglas talked Press Gazette through a beta version of the site and highlighted a story headlined: "Uh oh, stripper boots are IN!" to illustrate how the commercial side  works.

Content from our partners
Publishing on the open web is broken, how generative AI could help fix it
Impress: Regulation, arbitration and complaints resolution
Papermule: Workflow automation for publishers

While the decision to cover "stripper boots" was a purely editorial one, she said, the story concluded with the statement: "We love these high-street buys…" followed by photos of three pairs of boots accompanied by links to buy the products. The idea was, Douglas said, that these would promote goods provided by the site's commercial partners.

In the version of the site seen by Press Gazette there was nothing to flag up the commercial nature of the promoted section of the story.

Asked for further clarification on this, Douglas said: "This is a ‘working draft’ of the sort of relationship we would have. And it is a beta site where we are trying all sorts of things we may not launch with….

“We would charge an overall fixed fee for ‘positioning’ a client's business priorities (eg a Revlon orange, rather than another colour, lipstick).

“The client gets us to contextualise their product/service within content we are putting up on the site anyway.”

The site carries no display advertising and is based purely on the ‘native advertising’ model.

Douglas said today’s launch means The People is the only seven-day digital, one-day print national newspaper proposition.

The unusual website design renders as a grid four tiles wide on desktops and tablet computers and one tile wide on mobile. Whereas the Trinity Mirror national websites are on the E-Scenic content system, is built on the free WordPress blogging platform.

Features include Newscrunch, a tile which updates several times a day providing a briefing on the stories that readers “really need to know” as Douglas puts it. And Geek crunch, a daily facts and figures feature.

Douglas said: “The rest of it is news without the boring bits" describing the job of the journalists to "condense and curate within the zeitgeist".

She said it is like Buzzfeed, but “it’s a news brand and Buzzfeed is not a news brand”.

At launch is planning to publish at least 20 ‘tiles’ a day and Douglas has ambitions to hit one million unique users a month early next year.

Asked when they hope to break even on the project, she said: "will wash its face very quickly because of the commercial relationships we've got".

Topics in this article : ,

Email to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network