The Sun today launched a light-hearted Buzzfeed-style political website beyond its paywall.
SunNation.co.uk has its own URL and is a stand-alone site, separate from the main paywalled TheSun.co.uk site.
Buzzfeed has expanded heavily into UK politics, last November recruiting Sun Whitehall editor Emily Ashton to its team.
SunNation.co.uk launched yesterday with an exclusive video depicting a day in the life of Prime Minister David Cameron. A video crew followed Cameron for a day and he also wore a pinhole camera.
The site is designed to be viewed on smartphones and features lists and quizzes as well as more serious news and comment.
The SunNation.co.uk launch follows David Cameron giving an exclusive interview yesterday to Buzzfeed UK.
The Sun said in a statement: “SunNation will bring the creativity and humour of The Sun’s existing political content to shareable video, games, quizzes, interactive toys, lists, memes, opinion pieces, infographics, galleries and funny stories."
Last August Sun sister title The Times launched a daily political email newsletter and website called Red Box, which was also outside its paywall.
Sun editor David Dinsmore said: “SunNation is an exciting new project for The Sun that offers us the chance to bring the paper’s witty and irreverent take on UK politics to a wider audience ahead of the General Election. Many try to copy The Sun’s unique style of reporting big events but very few match us. We’re confident SunNation will become essential reading for everybody interested in the outcome of May’s big vote.”
Dinsmore has long been an admirer of Buzzfeed’s approach to storytelling.
In November 2013 he said: “Buzzfeed is the best thing on the internet because it is The Sun on the internet. The way that they tell stories is brilliant. I do see them as competition and the way that they mix light and shade is very Sun-like.”
Since going behind an online paywall in August 2013 The Sun has slipped from being the most-read newspaper brand in the UK (in print and online) to fifth place – according to the National Readership Survey.
According to the NRS The Sun had around 1m UK digital-only readers in November 2014 versus around 13m for the Daily Mail.