September 01, 2003

First Look at New Sunday CD ‘Section’

The Sunday Times new monthly section – a CD insert entitled The Month developed to attract younger readers – debuted today and BBC News Online writer Darryl Chamberlain has a review and reader reaction.

The quick take: “Certainly hit on a gem of an idea, but it will need some refining yet before it becomes an essential part of its already-bulky package, rather than just a gimmick.”

Pluses include video of David Bowie and numerous songs; minuses include almost as many ads and a “glorified Powerpoint presentation” that Chamberlain says “would be better off back in the paper.”

I like Chamberlain’s notion that the The Month is a “good first stab” and something that could eventually “stand alone away from the main paper.” Newspapers, with all their content development capacity, need to move beyond print to other distribution channels.

The Month represents a true effort at innovation, a step beyond the traditional – and continual [ Read: How Newspapers Are Trying to Save Sunday ] – reconfiguring of the Sunday paper. Reshuffling won’t attract some would-be readers. They want a whole new deck.

And let’s not overlook the appeal of The Month or similar non-traditional supplements to advertisers. As one reader posted in a comment on the BBC News site: “Finally in response to the comments regarding the adverts; while they may be a little frustrating I’m sure most users would prefer this as an alternative to an increase in the cost of the paper.”

Posted by Tim Porter at September 1, 2003 11:50 AM