Radio Times brings site up to date

The Radio Times has just launched a beta version of its new website, which promises a range of new opportunities for PR professionals to secure coverage.

Torchwood: Radio Times features TV shows
Torchwood: Radio Times features TV shows

The new-look site is billed as a one-stop-shop for listings, entertainment news, views, recommendations, videos, sneak previews and reviews.

There are some nifty extra features such as catch-up and on-demand services, and the innovative Watchlist, which tells viewers when their favourite shows and films are on.

Website editor Helen Hackworthy says there will be lots of ways for PR professionals to become involved with the new areas of the site.

'Video is central to the site, so we are always on the lookout for entertainment clips, trailers, additional interviews and behind-the-scenes footage,' she says.

'News about what is coming up in the entertainment world and the latest releases are always useful.

'We are also getting out and about a lot more as a team, so invitations to press events that we can cover are welcome.'

Hackworthy says the relaunched website has allowed for greater creativity. 'We realised the old site was not showcasing the editorial well enough,' she says. 'We would like to think we offer the best listings, but we offer so much more than that.'

The core elements of the brand remain, however.

'Radio Times is a hugely trusted brand, with a rich heritage - it's a national institution,' says Hackworthy.

Radio Times readers actually watch less TV than average -so they want guidance on the right things to watch.

Website users are younger than readers of the magazine, so the brand is being taken to a new audience.

Adam Cox, managing director of Radio Relations, says this is crucial for the survival of the brand.

'Radio Times is something with which I grew up.

It certainly has heritage and a massive amount of credibility,' he says.

'The magazine is what I would consider to be a generation thing, for people aged 40 to 50-plus. As a brand, I believe it is dated and the changes to the website are necessary if it wants to attract a new audience.'

Justin Jeffreys, account director at Taylor Herring, says the brand has been modernising and this is another step in the right direction.

'From a PR perspective, the new site is great - it's another opportunity for us,' he says. 'Given that there is a lot of competition from news- paper websites and TV listings websites, the Radio Times needed to update its website in order for it to keep up with rivals, as well as offering PROs more opportunities.'

Jeffreys says PROs also need to be innovative to get coverage. 'The Radio Times always has an interesting twist on things, so it is a good idea to go in with a creative proposal,' he says.

 

A MINUTE WITH ... Helen Hackworthy, digital media editor, Radio Times

Helen Hackworthy

What content is the Radio Times website looking for?

There has to be an entertainment link - predominantly TV, radio or film, although we would consider significant music, games or technology stories that could be of interest to our users. It is safe to say that Z-list celebrities promoting their products do not fit with the Radio Times brand.

How does the website fit with the print content?

The site works very closely with the magazine, sharing content, ideas and resources. Online, we often publish behind-the-scenes video footage and additional photos from shoots, extra interview material and features that did not make the final print product. We have been training our print journalists to write for the web and they have been filing exclusive stories and filming their interviews. Video is obviously a strength of the medium - as well as exclusive content, we have clips of TV shows that enhance the magazine's previews. Reviews and trailers of the weekly cinema releases are exclusive to the web.

What are the deadlines?

We cover breaking entertainment news, so we can turn things around quickly. But we would like as much notice as possible, especially for invitations to events.

 

Radio Times homepage

 

QUICK FACTS
Website: 1.5 million unique users (ABCe, December 2010)
Address: radiotimes.com
Contacts
Editor: helen.hackworthy@bbc.com
News editor: tim.glanfield@bbc.com
DVD releases: david.brown.04@bbc.com; jamie.healy@bbc.com
Competitions: tom.cole@bbc.com

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