news.com.au sees it from all angles

A NEW drag-and-drop feature to help readers decide how they want to read the news has been launched by the News Ltd flagship website, news.com.au.

Readers will be able to customise pages so they can prioritise the type of news they want.

Publisher Sigrid Kirk said in a statement the changes had been after research to explore what readers wanted from a news website. “An ever-increasing array of options in every category of life fuels people’s desires for total customisation,” she said. “People are picking and choosing what works for them and on their terms.”

The website layout is ordered into content boxes such as “National & Local”, “World”, “Fox Sport” and “Business”. If you are more interested in sport than any other category, you can use your cursor to drag that box higher up the home page – and this reorganisation of “your” homepage is saved for next time.

(Editor David Higgins discusses why news.com.au made its move in this direction in the story below.)

The initiative comes amid a new advertising strategy to offer clients “total section dominance” within news.com.au.

Ms Kirk said her website – part of the News Digital Media group – was the first news website to deploy the drag-and-drop feature in her market. It is not a new concept and has been used over the last eight years by numerous websites, seeking to offer customers greater control over content. It was once a popular tool of the American interactive agency, Razorfish.

Ms Kirk said the site had also been designed to include more “integrated” links to News Ltd’s other digital properties, such as the websites of its leading Australian metropolitan newspapers, plus perthnow.com.au, Fox International, New York Post and The Sun in London.

The change synchronises with a new branding initiative, called “From All Angles”. An advertising campaign began this month created by the George Patterson Y&R agency. News and arch-rival Fairfax are locked in a competition to beat each other on unique browser numbers. Currently Fairfax has the mantle as Australia’s leading web publisher.

Ms Kirk said the latest changes would be a boon to advertisers seeking to leverage her 3 million-strong audience. “For advertisers, the new site becomes a creative and contextually relevant avenue to reach an engaged domestic audience. On top of existing advertising packages, we have extended options to include complete re-skinning of index and story pages for total section dominance as well as sponsored links.”

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