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Fox Sports shuts ‘loss making’ The Crowd forum with plans to refocus on citizen journalism

Fox Sports has quietly shuttered its fan forum section The Crowd after one of its main product managers admitted on Twitter it “runs at a loss”.

The News Corp-owned entity last posted content on The Crowd ahead of the AFL Grand Final this month, with a new holding page for the site reading “The home of aspiring journalists. Coming soon.”

the-crowd-holding-screen

However, it failed to fire, with Fox Sports’ social product manager Paul Wissam admitting on Twitter in September “it runs at a loss”. The tweet was made in reply to this conversation around whether news sites should pay contributors, but Wissam has since protected his tweets.

paul-wissam-fox-sports-the-crowd-twitterFox Sports has told Mumbrella it is planning to bring back The Crowd next year: “After providing our first entry point into community forums, The Crowd enters the next stage of its product lifestyle with an increased focus on citizen journalism.  The new product is in development with plans to launch in January 2017.”

On the subject of its financial performance a spokesperson added: “The Crowd was neither conceived or closed based on its revenue driving potential, rather its ability to give aspiring journalists an opportunity to develop their skills and find a platform for their voice. We’re now moving into a period of learning and optimisation, with the next evolution of The Crowd having greater focus on attracting and inspiring future journalists and providing new avenues into paid roles.”

Launched in 2014, The Crowd was billed as a free second screen experience which was meant to engage viewers into wider conversations around their favourite sports, with the goal of building a community and, ultimately, greater audiences.

Fox Sports had already refocused the site around student journalists with the aim to create a “training ground for aspiring sports journalists”, pouring a lot of effort into attracting students to submit content for the site and offering paid internships to the best writers.

Its entry into this year’s Lithy Awards charts the work undertaken to refocus it in the last iteration of the site.

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