Monday, July 30, 2012

FT reports Murdoch's The Sunday Times will launch new classified site for higher priced used cars

Hallalujah, finally a newspaper that hasn't given up completely on classified advertising - or so it would appear.

The Financial Times is reporting (paywall) that News International is planning to launch a new website targeted at higher priced used cars. The site would be branded with The Sunday Times name, and would focus on cars priced over £15,000.

The new site will feature editorial from the paper's columnists much like many U.S. Friday auto sections and is being led by Tom Mockridge, the New Zealand born chief executive of News International.

What TNM will be looking to see is if the launch will be a thoroughly thought out launch, complete with supporting mobile and tablet support, or if it will merely be a companion website.

Newspapers have all but abandoned their classified advertising initiatives, despite the tremendous opportunities the new digital platforms are presenting. Instead, many major newspaper chains continue to depend on national classified web efforts such as those of Classified Ventures. Very few newspapers are looking at their mobile apps as new platforms for classifieds and are instead simply streaming their RSS news feeds.

With most newspapers experiencing declining readership, and with many paper's putting their websites behind paywalls, a separate web and mobile initiative for classifieds would seem to be the best way to regain the necessary reach a strong classified department needs to attract both commercial and private party advertising.

(Disclosure: I am a former classified advertising manager and probably one of the last true believers in classifieds.)