A leading regional publisher has begun the roll-out of a series of new-look websites branded in line with its newspapers.
Until now, companion websites for the former Northcliffe titles have appeared under the ‘thisis’ brand.
However although the thisis sites will continue for the time being, new owner Local World is now launching what it is calling “publisher-branded” sites alongside them.
The first seven went live last week, with the full roll-out of more than 80 sites due to be complete by the summer.
The seven sites that have so far gone live are: www.ExeterExpressandEcho.co.uk, www.BristolPost.co.uk, www.HullDailyMail.co.uk, www.DerbyTelegraph.co.uk, www.WesternMorningNews.co.uk, www.Ely-News.co.uk, www.GloucesterCitizen.co.uk.
Some of the titles in question, such as the Western Morning News, have not previously had a dedicated web presence, with its content appearing on thisiscornwall, thisisdevon and thisisplymouth.
Alan Renwick, executive director for the LW transformation team said: “This is the first stage in a major expansion of our digital activity: high impact, content rich websites that reflect and extend the power of our print brands.
“We’ll be closely monitoring audience trends and feedback before rolling out further sites and introducing some exciting content enhancements across Local World.”
Local World is treating the initial roll-out phase as a “soft launch” designed to test user reaction ahead of the full roll-out.
An internal announcement stated that the new sites were designed to be “more tabloid” in feel with an “uncluttered style.”
Eventually, the company plans that much of the content on the new sites will be generated by users.
The internal announcement stated that as the sites develop they will have “a greater range of news content which will be more fluid and dynamic than before, with updates throughout the day.
“While print and digital brands are being aligned, their content will become far more starkly differentiated. In particular, the digital platforms will include a far wider range of content sources, especially user generated material,” it added.