04 July 2007

Trans-Pond Push for National Papers

The UK’s leading newspaper sites are stepping up efforts to court American readers and advertisers, according to a recent article in The New York Times. Among recent or forthcoming online efforts:

* The Guardian is preparing to introduce a GuardianAmerica home page aimed at the roughly 2.5 million users who visit the paper’s Web site each month from America.

* Times Online has already created a separate global home page, distinct from its British edition. It is enhancing its search-engine optimization and other techniques intended to draw in American readers, who tend to arrive from aggregator sites such as Google News.

Emily Bell, editor of Guardian Unlimited, says the fact that American media have cut back on international reporting, at a time when audiences are looking for more coverage of areas such as the Middle East, has been among the factors in the site’s overseas success.

Despite their heavy usage in the States, the two newspapers have had trouble attracting American advertising. Advertising budgets generally still are allocated according to national boundaries and media format; media-buying firms as yet have no category for newly acquired American audiences of British papers.

Media analysts and blogger Jeff Jarvis told The New York Times that British papers hoping to sell ads in the United States ought to consider joining together to form a single sales operation, rather than competing against each other. He also suggested they join with the BBC and established players such as The Economist and The Financial Times for advertising.

'None of these organizations is going to be able to support individually a dedicated and robust sales staff,' he said. 'They all recognize they have a big opportunity in the United States, but they are all uncertain about how to take advantage of it.'

The full story is available free for a few more days at www.nytimes.com/2007/07/02/business/media/02bbc.html


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