Times launches fee-based web and mobile services

Times Media plans to increase revenue from its website and mobile platform by launching more transactional services.

The publisher’s focus on digital also includes launching a site specifically designed for the Apple iPhone, and the trialing of an “e-paper” version of its newspaper through Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader.

Zach Leonard, director of digital strategy and development across Times Media and News Group Newspapers, says that while a majority of the revenue earned on The Sun’s website comes from the services it provides, such as bingo and fantasy football, Times Online has historically focused on display advertising.

It plans to add more services as part of the Times Online offering. These include making games available on the mobile for a small fee, as well as sending SMS alerts containing results of major events, such as the recent Beijing Olympics.

Leonard says its revenue-raising strategy also includes managing Times Online’s intellectual property better, for example it plans to make its extensive picture archive available to consumers to buy online.

He also believes that developing a site specifically for the Apple iPhone will offer better advertising opportunities on mobile, with more focus on video.

Leonard says the mobile site will initially cater for a small audience but that the market will develop as rival phone operators introduce their own handsets with large format handsets.

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