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January 28, 2014updated 29 Jan 2014 4:37pm

So much for ‘news without the boring bits’ – People closes new Buzzfeed-style website

By Dominic Ponsford

Trinity Mirror has closed its new Buzzfeed-style website for The People after just under three months.

The site was the brainchild of former Sunday Express editor Sue Douglas who came in-house at Trinity Mirror seven months ago after previously leading a consortium which had sought to buy The People newspaper.

Douglas is understood to be leaving Trinity Mirror – although she has not done so yet.

The site is believed to have employed around 20 staff on a mainly casual basis when it launched at the start of November. Those working on it included Charlie Courtauld, former editor of Frost Over the World for Al Jazeera, and former night editor of the News of the World Harry Scott.

Douglas described the site as "news without the boring bits" and said the site "will wash its face very quickly because of the commercial relationships we've got".

The site was supposed to be entirely funded by "native content" – so paid-for editorial. But since November, Douglas has been unable to show Press Gazette any examples of that paid-for content.

Although there have been various articles on the site which link through to retail websites there has been no content flagged as being sponsored.

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Trinity Mirror said in a statement: "Whilst there was much original and good work done,  just didn't attract a big enough audience to make the site a viable proposition."

Trinity Mirror chief executive Simon Fox said: "These decisions are never easy to make and I would like to thank Sue and her team for all their hard work and creativity.

“The idea of the site was to bring the People brand to life across seven days but it simply hasn't attracted the audience that we had hoped for.

“Our aim is to become one of the UK’s leading multi-media publishers and we will only achieve this by experimenting with new digital ideas."

Meanwhile, Trinity Mirror humour and games website Usvsth3m has gone from strength to strength since launch in May 2013, attracting a claimed total of 7m unique users in November.


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