Irish News launches Ireland’s first online TV news service (SBP – 21 Jan 2007)

An article of mine on a new online TV service for Ireland, in.tv, from today’s Sunday Business Post:

The Irish News, based in Belfast, will launch the country’s first full online TV news service tomorrow, called INTV.

The website, www.in.tv, will offer news, sport, entertainment and religious content, as well as discussion programmes and features. Irish News has had a limited amount of video content on its main website, Irishnews.com, since September and developed the new free-to-view service with media company Gat€49.

‘‘It is, in many ways, a step into the unknown and no one can say how it will develop,” said Noel Doran, editor of Irish News, ‘‘but it’s changing times and you’ve got to look at these things very closely.

“There’s a lot of pressure on newspapers generally to attract audiences in different ways.”

While he would not say how much the newspaper was spending on the website, Doran said it represented a ‘‘significant investment’’ for the company.

The site’s sports coverage will be presented by Setanta Sports broadcaster Graham Little, while Andrea Devlin and Aislinn Hagan will present news. Doran said a number of the paper’s existing staff have expressed an interest in working on video content.

‘‘A number are already involved in a couple of pilot schemes, particularly in sports and entertainment,” he said.

‘‘It won’t be a question of the entire editorial staff becoming multi-skilled, but a relatively small number have expressed an interest in getting involved with the online side of things and we’re happy to facilitate that.”

Online content is becoming increasingly important to newspapers as they try to counteract declining sales figures, especially among young people. The Irish Times recently relaunched its website, Ireland.com, featuring free video clips and breaking news services.

Some of Ireland’s other big national and regional newspapers, including the Irish Independent, the Sunday Tribune and the Belfast Telegraph, are preparing to launch new websites in the coming months.

Many British newspapers have invested heavily in online content in recent years, with the Guardian achieving the most success from its downloadable audio content and Comment Is Free blog.

It’s a pretty interesting idea and great to see a newspaper on this island start to think about online content – something that papers in England have been doing for a long time.

Hopefully The Irish Times has gotten enough positive response from its very slight toe-in-the-water attempts of late and will start to push the boat out a bit more now. Anyway, if what I’ve heard about the new versions of other newspaper sites is true then Ireland.com is going to look very antiquated very quickly.

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