The i100 allows users to choose the prominence of where the 100 stories are placed on the page by an “upvoting” system. Users need to be logged in to upvote, offering the Independent new opportunities for data capture among the target audience of young professionals.
As well as banner advertising and NPUs sold both direct and programmatically, i100 offers native advertising in the form of sponsored articles.
First Direct is the site’s launch advertiser, with the deal set to run until the end of the calendar year, sponsoring articles such as “The 14 money facts you never knew you needed to know”. A First Direct YouTube video and the brand’s Twitter feed have also been embedded into the bottom of the article.
The Independent is not the first UK newspaper publisher to enter Buzzfeed’s territory. Trinity Mirror launched UsVsTh3m website last year and it now claims to reach more than 7m browsers per month. It also launched The People website, which offered “news without the boring bits” and a unique take on native advertising, but it closed just months after.
In May The Daily Telegraph launched Project Babb, a light-hearted standalone football website that sits outside its metered paywall.
Zach Leonard, The Independent’s managing director of digital, told Marketing Week that while i100 follows the trend of “not too fussy news sites that place serious topics alongside more whimsical stories” rather than trialling something new, it will offer advertisers something different from other publishers’ takes on genre.
He added: “We are offering marketers the strength of the i brand and engaged and empowered users because they are given the opportunity to upvote and share their view. It really plays on our strengths.”
Leonard declined to comment on revenue or audience targets for i100 but said it marks a “significant commitment” both in terms of investment from the Independent and First Direct’s investment in the first major advertising deal for the site.
“i100 will take us in a different direction. It is more portable, shareable and to some end personal. This will open up different incremental revenue for us…it gives us the opportunity to cross-sell and target our advertising [by requiring registration to upvote]…and there’s an interesting potential to link it into the physical space and events,” he adds.
Last month the Independent.co.uk marked its highest ever global monthly audience, up 9.64 per cent month on month to 40 million in June, accordion got its latest ABCe certificate. The i newspaper had a circulation of 286,356 in June while The Independent’s circulation stood at 63,505 copies.