APN has been focusing on upping the Herald's game in the digital and mobile space of late, and it's done a very good job, with a well-received and award-winning iPad App and mobile site and more on the way soon. As a result of this focus, some brands in its stable have been left behind in this regard and The Listener is a prime example of that. Well, now the website has been completely redesigned by the in-house team to bring it into the modern media era. But the advertiser-funded strategy remains—for the moment, at least.
APN Online's general manager Spencer Bailey says the last website was "totally out of date" and was run on an outsourced platform.
"It was basically a set and forget website for a few years, so it badly needed updating and modernising. It was a bit of a soft-launch, to be honest, but everything seems to be working so far."
With the previous incarnation, readers didn't have the ability to comment or share stories, so that's now been remedied. And, unlike the old site, Bailey says most stories from the print edition will be posted in the week of the current issue in an effort to "extend the stories and debates out over the week". Users will also be able to search all published articles from the past seven years.
ACP, one of NZ Magazine's main competitors, is committed to furthering the paid-for content model, as evidenced by the North & South iPad App. So, by going down this free content road, does that close the gate on the ability of APN to charge for digital versions of the Listener? Bailey doesn't think so and believes there are plenty of opportunities in the App space for APN.
"We just haven't got to that stage yet," he says. "We're not saying there's no opportunity to charge for content at all, but where it makes sense we will and where it doesn't we won't."
The Listener's TV reviewer and Public Address blogger Fiona Rae has taken on the role of web editor and additional online-only content will be published to supplement the print edition.