Australia’s online media landscape today sees the launch of The New Daily, a general news website funded by Australia’s major superannuation funds.
The New Daily will be run by former Herald Sun editor Bruce Guthrie, who is the website’s editorial director and former online editor of The Age Daniel Sankay, who had been rumoured to joining an Australian version of The Huffington Post.
“The important thing about The New Daily is that this is a digital only product,” said Guthrie, “most other sites out there have been something else before they were digital.”
“When we started we sat down and thought what do you need on an online news website, we felt video was important and that the site should be able to move and speak.”
The New Daily will have an editorial staff of 15 full time staff and is owned equally by super funds AustralianSuper, Cbus and Industry SuperHoldings who have invested in The New Daily’s parent company Motion Publishing.
“What we are is a digital first news publication that it is based on a model which was launched in Adelaide for inDaily and it is backed by the industry superannuation funds,” said Paul Hamra, publisher of The New Daily.
“It is a general news website and given the super funds have 5.5m members and represent all Australians and so our site is very much a mass site.”
In addition to the editorial content provided by the editorial staff and contributors The New Daily will have access to ABC videos and copy which it will use on the website.
“We have reached an agreement with the ABC that they will provide video for us,” said Guthrie, “These are predominately 90 second videos across news, business, sport and weather.”
“We have bought those from the ABC because we think if users are time poor, particularly in the morning they might just go straight to those videos,” he said, while declining to comment on the fee paid for licencing ABC content.
Guthrie said the wake of Fairfax and News Corp Australia implementing paywalls there were opportunities for new entrants who came to the market with digital mindsets.
“I set up The Age’s website in 1996 and I relaunched the Herald Sun’s website in 2007 and I can tell you those websites were created with a print mindset,” said Guthrie.
“That still exists within News and Fairfax that they approach digital with a print mindset but what we have done is say we don’t have to worry about that what is a digital news site and what should it look like.”
He argues metered paywalls, introduced by both publishers earlier this year, were frustrating readers.
“What we have seen in our research that there is an increasing frustration with these porous paywalls which lock you out after 15 or 30 articles,” said Guthrie. “Providing good quality journalism for free, and the super funds have made it clear they will never charge for journalism is a significant selling point for the website.”
Among the launch contributors to The New Daily are former editor of Vogue Kristy Clements, former cricketer Rodney Hogg and TV identity Steve Vizard reviewing television.
The New Daily will launch with a marketing push to members of the super funds who own the site.
“The good thing we have is that we are able to market to members of super funds, we are in the middle of an email campaign introducing them to the site, that began on Monday night and will go for the next week,” said Hamra.
“We have the power to market to a really big section of the community.”
Hamra and Guthrie are also joined on the board of Motion Publishing by Private Media’s Eric Beecher.