MEDIA: Major relaunch at The Times Online

In a bid to be more than just a replication of its off-line brand, The Times Online has relaunched with what it claims is a more fluid and comprehensive site.

In a bid to be more than just a replication of its off-line brand, The Times Online has relaunched with what it claims is a more fluid and comprehensive site.

With downloads available via e-mail, mobile phones and hand-held computers, the site will carry regular news updates and concentrate on key areas such as education, law and media.

'It is essentially a much more dynamic site,' editor Andy Bull said.

'It is more than just a handy morning print-out. We are trying to stretch the Times brand.'

Bull said development would mirror the off-line product's strengths.

'We are looking at our audiences, such as the law, teachers, media and so on,' he said.

It will work with third-party partners, such as recruitment site revolver.com, to develop services.

Bull said the intention is to turn various areas into 'rich communities', which offer specific added-value information such as databases. 'There are great opportunities for targeting,' he said.

Travel, books and sport will also feature prominently on the new-look site, and a section on football's Premiership is being developed.

Bull said that Times Online's coverage of the Sydney Olympics brought one million extra page impressions.

Bull admitted the Times has been less ambitious on-line than both the Financial Times and the Guardian to date.

But he said that The Times Online's dedicated editorial team of 25 would now probably grow. 'We are growing traffic and revenue gradually,' he added.

The Times Online is also looking for partnerships to develop content and to expand its scope, he said.

'For example, we can't host audio on the site at the moment,' Bull added.

Bull has been with the Times for three years, and has worked with the Independent, Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.





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