Celebrity website looks to attract 'guilty secret' Mail Online readers

A new celebrity website targeting readers who feel a ‘sense of shame’visiting Mail Online is clocking up more than 11,000 unique users a month, according to one its co-founders.

Minute15.com was launched by husband and wife team Jessie Hewitson and Eifion Rees, who are the main contributors and editors of the website.

Hewitson told Press Gazette that the idea for the website was inspired by friends who visit sites like Mail Online despite it being ‘like a guilty secret.”

‘A lot of people are going on The Mail through lack of alternatives, even though there is almost a sense of shame associated with it,’she said.

‘We want to provide a website for well-educated, young professionals who still have an interest in celebrity news but maybe wouldn’t buy a Heat magazine or something similar.”

Hewitson said there was a tendency to either put celebrities on a pedestal or else be mean spirited. ‘I feel there is a gap in the market for something in between,’she added.

The pair are both freelance journalists, Hewitson having worked for The Sunday Times and The Times and Rees on The Ecologist and The Daily Telegraph.

The has already had stories picked up by Google News, the Huffington Post and The Week.

The team also includes a digital marketer and a technical director.

Hewitson described Minute15 as a ‘humorous, irreverent and grown-up antidote to existing celebrity news outlets”.

‘We felt that there were a significant number of well-educated professionals in their 20s and 30s who read newspapers and can hold their own in a conversation about the Arab Spring, but who also have a fondness for celebrity news.

‘This demographic hasn’t been well catered for in the past: much celebrity news, in the press and online, is rather basically written – most are picture-led, with not much effort put into the words – and assumes very little intelligence in the reader. So we came up with our niche: providing witty celebrity news that isn’t shy of poking fun at people who often take themselves way too seriously.

According to Hewitson the latest figures show the website had 11,847 in February – up from 4,957 when it first launched in November.

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