Cyberview 14/12/01

 Independent Digital, the online division of The Independent (www.independent.co.uk), has made a move into paid-for services by launching a range of guides for downloading. The 50×50 Best Guides feature interests such as travel, going out and food and drink. Subscribers pay £10 to download the guides which can then be put onto a handheld devices including Windows CE and Palm systems.

 

A new service which monitors if your website is down is worth a look for those wanting to keep tabs on their host provider.

Down-time monitor (www.down-time-monitor.com) from Receptional.com will check out your website every 15 minutes and if it is not able to reach it, will send either an e-mail or SMS alert. Once the site is up again, it will issue another alert. For site owners who are not able to constantly check the status of their site, it means you will have a proper record of your sites accessibility to users.

 

Just over a year ago, Trinity Mirror announced plans to invest £150m in new media over three years. Earlier this year that figure was revised for 2002, and once again it has been changed. The publisher is set to invest £10m next year into new media ventures. This hasn’t been a good year for The Mirror owner, which saw its ISP service ic24 sold at a knockdown price and its Sportinglife online offering sold for less than it cost to create.

 

And so who was the new media winner of 2001? Quite simply Express Newspapers/Northern & Shell. Having decided not to ramp up its online offering (indeed to totally let it lapse), people thought it wouldn’t be a winning strategy for the Richard Desmond-owned titles. But a year after he took control of Express Newspapers and slashed online development, Desmond is looking like the only canny publisher out there. Where his rivals poured millions into developing their newspapers online and in the process losing millions, the Express has not had the same problems. So if it decides the time is right to go fully back online, it will certainly be able to learn lessons from the others at their own expense.

 

It’s going to be an interactive Christmas on BBC. The broadcaster is airing Top of the Pops on Christmas day with extra services for digital viewers. Viewers will be prompted to press their red button on remote controls and then be presented with a series of options including being able to sing along Karaoke style.

 

Leslie Bunder

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