Ninemsn to relaunch homepage and launch marketing push ahead of traffic drop off


The new Ninemsn homepage

Australia’s third most read news website Ninemsn is set to launch a major redesign of its homepage, supported by a new marketing push in the coming weeks, ahead of a significant expected fall in their online traffic, Mumbrella understands.

The move, which will include a television commercial, sees Ninemsn launch a dramatically simplified homepage and follows the end of the deal with former joint venture owner, Microsoft which saw the homepage serve as the default log out page for Hotmail/Outlook.

“The Ninemsn branding is much stronger on the page,” Hal Crawford, editor-in-chief of Ninemsn told Mumbrella. “It is very much a masthead, with the design being story led, so the headlines are much bigger, the fonts are bigger and the pictures are bigger.”

“You don’t have to get into complicated explanations of user journeys when it is as simple as making the pictures and headlines bigger so that the stories can speak for themselves.”


Old Ninemsn homepage

The end of the deal with Microsoft, along with the recent launch its own MSN newspage, is tipped to see up to a 30 per cent decline in the Ninemsn audience, although Crawford noted that the network was larger than just the Outlook traffic.

“We are expecting to see some impact from that in parts of Nielsen,” he said. “Of course the Ninemsn network is bigger than the homepage and that only impacts the homepage. We will see an impact but I am firmly focused on Ninemsn and how we invigorate that network.”

The new homepage which is currently live to two percent of consumers will be rolled out to all visitors in the coming weeks.

Crawford said the new design was built to give more prominence to individual stories and photos on the homepage.

“This is a homepage I wanted to release and it is very much about two streams of stories in a utility column. It is definitely the homepage I would have released regardless of what is happening with Microsoft,” he said.

“If you look at the evolution of our homepage you can see an evolution with news stories becoming more prominent and that particularly has happened in this latest iteration.”

The new homepage will be supported by a marketing campaign using Nine Entertainment’s online and television properties.

“We are developing a 30 second TV commercial (to run on Nine) and there will be a campaign in our digital properties as well, driven by the idea of Ninemsn being the home of stories which matter to people and reminding them why they love Ninemsn,” said Crawford.

The Ninemsn news boss said that despite Nine joint venture the Daily Mail Australia surging up the Nielsen rankings and the anticipated drop off in Ninemsn’s audience there had been no impact on his budget or staffing.

“No not at all,” he said when asked about potential budget cuts. “I would say across Nine Entertainment we are investing a lot more in digital content. You now have the whole Nine news team based at Willoughby, there is my whole team based here at Australia Square and so there is incremental increase in digital content.”

Nic Christensen 


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