TODAY website revamped with new ad formats

TODAY has revamped its website in a bid to make it a more “focused and pleasant reading experience” for its readers. This follows the publication’s move to go fully digital in August this year. For advertisers, the revamp also features a new ad format. Dubbed as the “two ears”, the new format is located next to the mast head of the website, which aims provide advertisers with a new option to place their campaigns.

"It is also a nod to TODAY’s print legacy, even as we embrace our digital future, and provides advertisers with a creative new option to place their campaigns," a Mediacorp spokesperson explained in a conversation with Marketing. Mediacorp declined to comment on the cost and partners involved in the revamp.

The spokesperson added that publication was mulling plans for the revamp for a while. This comes as the attention span of readers get shorter, prompting the news outlet to undertake a “thorough redesign that would help TODAY stand out from the sea of cookie-cutter news sites out there”.

“TODAY’s recent transition to a fully digital news outlet provided greater impetus to push through the changes,” the spokesperson added.

The newly designed website boasts bigger fonts and photos, with top stories being highly visible at a glance or a scroll through the mouse. Another focus of the new design is the increased prominence of its long-form reporting and visual features.

“Too many news websites make their readers hunt around for the good stuff. With our new layout, we want to make sure readers spend their time reading the stories or watching our videos, instead of navigating the site in search of what interests them,” the Mediacorp spokesperson said.

The new website also promotes its new WhatsApp and Telegram services, which were launched in May and September respectively. According to Mediacorp, with increased usage of messaging apps by Singaporeans, the move made "perfect sense for TODAY to deliver news on WhatsApp, the dominant messaging app in Singapore, as well as Telegram, which is catching on with Singaporeans as well."

The publication has also been encouraging advertisers to come onboard its WhatsApp and Telegram service, where they can sponsor the daily news summaries or tailor their latest campaign "in a discreet manner".

"Our WhatsApp/Telegram service lands directly on the most important 'real estate' in the news business – the lock-screens of mobile phones – and we believe it will be a very attractive new platform for advertisers going forward," the spokesperson added.

In August this year, Mediacorp revealed the discontinuation of TODAY’s print edition as the company looks towards becoming fully digital, the last print edition being in September 2017. The move resulted in the redundancies of 40 roles, of which Marketing understands a majority belonging to circulation and print-specific functions.

At the time, Karen Yew, head of brand and communications at Mediacorp explained in a statement that advertising revenues are following audiences to digital platforms. As such, Mediacorp has worked to strengthen its commercial offerings to enable advertisers to reach their clients digitally.

“With full ownership and control of Mediacorp Press, Mediacorp will restructure the TODAY business to better face the new digital-first media landscape,” the Mediacorp statement said. The move is also in line with plans that Mediacorp undertook for a strategic digital pivot three years ago. In April TODAY launched a fully digital weekend edition.

This is not the first time Mediacorp has made strides into going fully digital for its print publications. In March this year, the company discontinued the print editions of its Style brand of magazines. This saw the migration of its Style and Style: Men content to its digital portal styleXstyle.

Other movements to bolster its digital capabilities included the hire of Parminder Singh as its chief commercial and digital officer. Singh joined Mediacorp from Twitter, where he was managing director, Southeast Asia, Middle East, North Africa and India. Singh’s role combined what were previously two separate positions in the company and followed a series of recent hires reflecting Mediacorp’s move to bolster its digital capabilities.

The company also hired Tham Loke Kheng as its CEO and board director. She takes over from Shaun Seow, who took up a new role at Temasek Holdings. Seow joins Temasek’s telecom, media & technology investment team, which includes Mediacorp in its portfolio.