WEEKLY WEB WATCH: Finance site breaks the latest views

Organisation: BreakingViews.com

Organisation: BreakingViews.com

Issue: financial news, opinion and analysis

At: www.breakingviews.com

With so many financial news websites available, you can often find yourself having to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Launched in July 2000 by Hugo Dixon (formerly head of the Financial Times' Lex column), BreakingViews.com offers a selective database and e-mail service with hard-hitting views on financial news. It is an interactive site for finance professionals and investors who 'are hungry for commentary that makes sense of the tidal wave of information that engulfs them'.

The site stresses that it contains opinion that the user won't necessarily agree with, and invites users to comment.

From the beginning of next year the financial news service will charge for subscription. Until then the service is free and users can enter the site and request analysis and views on financial stories.

On entering the site, the user is notified of the subscription charges by a pop-up box. It will cost pounds 500 (plus VAT) per year - but those who register before the end of December receive a substantial discount.

The site is simply presented in blocks of coloured text. It's nothing flash, just a text-heavy, yet clearly set out site.

Two-thirds of the home page is taken up with 'breaking stories'. At the time of writing there were 11 main items - headlines are in black, with digests in red. The user clicks on a headline to read an editorial on the story. The right-hand third of the screen is made up of three sections - 'Features', 'Running stories' and 'Top movers'.

'Breaking stories' includes a story that German media group EM.TV is to sell a 16.7 per cent stake to the Kirch Group. The writer opines that 'none of this is a pretty picture as far as EM.TV shareholders are concerned'.

Flagged up next to the story is 'context news', which gives links to associated articles.

'Features' include how the new economy is 'looking frayed around the edges', while 'Top movers' provides a FTSE 100 chart of top players.

BreakingViews' latest co-operative deals with media companies are posted in the press release section. The most recent release announces 'the launch of its fifth newspaper comment column, with La Repubblica, one of Italy's leading dailies with a circulation of over 650,000'. The site already provides a column for the Wall Street Journal, whose wsj.com site has charged for subscriptions since it launched.

BreakingViews presumably doesn't want to fall down the same hole as Thestreet.com's UK operation (www.thestreet.-co.uk). Thestreet's failure to attract further investment reflects the financial community's current reluctance to throw money at dot.coms. So BreakingViews is putting a value on its content and charging a subscription for its service.

As the internet becomes a news and opinion source as valid as traditional media (if not more so because of its immediacy), expect more of the same from other serious independent news providers.

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