News Corp Australia has launched a new opinion website, RendezView, which aims to bring together opinion writers from mastheads around Australia to create an engaging news hub aimed at women.
The project is headed by Daily Telegraph contributing opinion editor Sarrah Le Marquand, who saw an opportunity to reach a demographic that is increasingly engaged online, particularly on mobile and tablet.
“As someone who’s worked at News for 10 years, I know there are so many great contributors across the group,” she said.
“They have an audience in their own mastheads and a local following but we’ve seen more and more women congregate in the digital sphere.”
The typical RendezView reader would range from women in their late 20s through to late 50s, a demographic reflected in contributors including Miranda Devine, Susie O’Brien, Tory Shepherd, Maria Billias and Rita Panahi. Telegraph writer Joe Hildebrand and News Corp technology writer Rod Chester also make an appearance, with topics ranging from feminism to fitness, politics and pop culture.
RendezView enters a competitive market targeted by sites such as Fairfax Media’s Daily Life and Mia Freedman’s MamaMia.
“It’s a women’s site for grown-ups but at the same time, it doesn’t take itself too seriously,” Ms Le Marquand says. “It’s irreverent. It replicates the best of what we do – telling stories in a substantial, credible way but without looking down at the reader.”
She said the site would target consumers who were less likely to pick up a newspaper, favouring online content.
The content will be a mix of columns published on the same day in newspapers including The Daily Telegraph, Herald-Sun, The Advertiser and The Courier-Mail as well as original content throughout the day produced by other News writers and external contributors.
Ms Le Marquand describes it as “news through opinion” – current issues interpreted through the voices of experienced journalists – and the site is designed to be a “one stop shop…a forum where readers can say ‘I’ve got everything I need right here’”.
The site features a clean, simple layout with a focus on images on the homepage, designed with mobile in mind.
“I really wanted it to be uncluttered, particularly for the mobile user,” Ms Le Marquand said. “People are increasingly moving that way in consuming their online content, but particularly this demographic. So many women I know don’t have time to sit in front of a desktop.
“The homepage is relying heavily on images to tell the story and convey what they might find.”
Within the articles themselves, however, it’s all about the writing.
“Once you click in it’s not image heavy because that’s what differentiates opinion from news, lifestyle and certainly tabloid-style gossip pages,” Ms Le Marquand said. “Here, the words are telling the story.”
RendezView has launched without a formal commercial plan. The team at News “felt it was time to do it, not to sit around”.
“Meetings with sales were held very late in the piece, which is quite liberating in this day and age,” Ms Le Marquand said. “We could just go out and focus on editorial.”
The site currently features minimal banner advertising but Ms Le Marquand said there was a lot of space to commercialise RendezView thanks to high engagement levels.
“Engagement is the key here,” she said. “Engagement time with opinion for our readers is 30 per cent longer than in news. The RendezView reader is very engaged so that has a lot of potential for sales teams.”
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