23 July 2014

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Johnston Press to launch UK-wide entertainments website

Regional publisher Johnston Press is set to launch a UK-wide entertainments website, utilising content from across its local and regional titles.

In a speech to investors earlier this year, chief executive Ashley Highfield promised to create a series of new websites using aggregated content from existing platforms.

It has now emerged that the first of these will be based on entertainments and will launch later this year.

The company is currently advertising for an ‘entertainments content manager,’ to be based in Edinburgh, who will spearhead the creation of the new portal.

The advert states:  “As part of our ongoing strategy to accelerate our digital business we plan to launch a multi-platform Entertainments Channel in the UK.

“Our channel will take a leading position in the online entertainments market and will provide existing and potential customers with everything they need to plan their leisure time.

“We’re looking for someone who has a real interest in helping us create an entertainments channel that will grow to become a market leader.

“You’ll have impressive content creation skills, supported by significant content publishing experience and you’ll share our vision for creating a digital community that is centred on leisure and entertainments.”

The content manager will head a new digital entertainments team to be based in the Scottish capital, where JP’s corporate headquarters are also based.

His or her duties will also include working with editorial staff across Johnston Press, promoting the new platform, and helping develop new content and revenue streams.

The new platform is part of a strategy first outlined by Ashley at a presentation following the publication of the company’s annual results in April.

He said: “Johnston Press must look to diversify into new areas of business where we can put our existing strengths to good use.

“We have built a huge repository of valuable content from all our newspapers, held in a single database, all indexed with excellent metadata.

“The opportunity is therefore there to aggregate and publish this content around specific interest areas, creating new websites, and we will be launching the first of these in 2012.”

17 Comments

  1. Last one out - switch off the light

    India here I come, or is it Moldova!!!
    You have to laugh or cry I’m never sure which when you get an announcement from JP these days!

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  2. Corporal Clegg

    Life is local (not)

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  3. Ill-informed

    It’s a good idea. Ents is about the only online space that isn’t dominated by an Auto Trader or Right Move-type business.

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  4. Yaboo

    “all indexed with excellent metadata..”

    I had to look it up. This is from, hurrumph, Wiki..
    I’m none the feckin’ wiser..

    The term metadata is ambiguous, as it is used for two fundamentally different concepts (types). Although the expression “data about data” is often used, it does not apply to both in the same way. Structural metadata, the design and specification of data structures, cannot be about data, because at design time the application contains no data. In this case the correct description would be “data about the containers of data”. Descriptive metadata, on the other hand, is about individual instances of application data, the data content. In this case, a useful description (resulting in a disambiguating neologism) would be “data about data content” or “content about content” thus metacontent. Descriptive, Guide and the National Information Standards Organization concept of administrative metadata are all subtypes of metacontent.[citation needed]

    Metadata (metacontent) is traditionally found in the card catalogs of libraries. As information has become increasingly digital, metadata is also used to describe digital data using metadata standards specific to a particular discipline. By describing the contents and context of data files, the quality of the original data/files is greatly increased. For example, a webpage may include metadata specifying what language it is written in, what tools were used to create it, and where to go for more on the subject, allowing browsers to automatically improve the experience of users.

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  5. Barry

    This is actually a very good idea.
    Are you sure it’s coming from JP?

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  6. Confused, Journalismland

    Report talks of ‘utilising content from its local and regional titles’.

    Why would someone in, say, Newcastle, want to have easy access to what’s on in Portsmouth? Am I missing something?

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  7. sutler

    I spent a large part of the latter part of my working life trying to convince journos of the importance of metadata.
    My success can be measured by the fact that I once came across a picture of a ginger tom cat complete with the all-embracing metadata – “A cat”
    I found that completing metadata ranked with journos on a par with tidying their desks and remembering to log off their computers.
    I wish JP luck – they will need it.
    PS: Personally I can’t wait to read the entertainment news and frolickings of the A-lister celebs from Peterborough, Doncaster or wherever – especially if it is stuffed with relevant metadata.

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  8. Cherrywonder

    So a national site stuffed with local leisure news?
    Yeah okay.
    So let’s say for instance I’m in Wibblington, and I wanna go the flicks tonight, why would I be interested in what’s showing in, like, Carlisle?
    It’s only “valuable content” for local papers, not the world wide web.

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  9. Dave

    They need to get their news sites right first, walk before you can run!

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  10. Scott

    Dead easy to set up a site like that, feeding stuff to it. Doesn’t mean anyone is going to use the stuff though. And I can’t believe advertisers will want to advertise on it. Will they?

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  11. redundant hack, lancashire

    I know people in Blackpool who will be kept very busy with entertainments metadata. This could save us all…………..

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  12. GladImOutOfIt

    Dave: no money in news sites. They expect to make national-sized money from the ents site

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  13. stillabeliever

    Come on. Give them a chance. It is actually a good idea if it is executed properly – good feeds from industry sources and topped up with local knowledge and contributions from local ents outlets.

    Not sure it is going to make huge amounts of money though. Will be of some value to advertisers if they create a strong brand that has traffic driven to it. However, there is already lots of competition. Decent site with strong promotion from the local papers, and partnered with good in-paper listings (the bit nobody else can do) could be a winner. I wonder if it will be this joined up!?

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  14. Subbed Out

    I imagine this will be celeb interview driven and it will be competing against the nationals and celeb websites. But I can’t imagine the sort of celeb interviews that appear in local papers will set the internet alight. (‘After taking time out to talk to us, Keith Chegwin reveals his plans for a major TV comeback…’)

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  15. Corporal Clegg

    No shortage of ents stuff anywhere on the web, from BBC to Sunday Times via Daily Mail and Time Out.
    They’ve lost the plot, big time.
    Journalism at local level is JP’s usp, and they are losing sight of it.

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  16. beencounting

    Realisation at last that JP won’t make decent web money from crappy local news (most of it is dull, just by default, in small areas) so this is worth a try surely?
    Give it chance.

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  17. Barry

    It’s cheap to set up, requires little extra work, so actually there’s little risk.
    Even if it gets a couple of hundred people each week from each town covered by a JP paper, you’ve soon got 50,000 uniques per week. You can easily make a few thousand quid off that.

    And done properly, it could be even bigger.

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