The style of the i paper’s newly-launched website, i100, was inspired by social networking site Reddit’s user rating system, according to Independent digital editor Christian Broughton.
Speaking to The Drum, Broughton said he hoped it would have a similar effect and give users a sense of ownership of the website. The i100 website carries a list of 100 stories running down the left side of the page and order is decided by users ‘upvoting’ stories they have read to set the news agenda.
“I’d love to say it was a brand new idea that had never been done before anywhere, but I love Reddit, I think it’s brilliant and I really like rating stuff on Reddit so we thought we would have a look at how we could accommodate that,” he said.
“I like that Reddit really feels like it’s owned by voters and I hope that people feel like they own this site, we want them to take control.”
The i paper has until now been an unusual example of a national title focusing only on a print product and having no unique digital presence. Following digital success for the Independent website under Broughton’s leadership over the last year, the digital editor said the launch of i100 was an opportunity to extend the brand of the Independent’s sister title i online.
“I’m holding back from calling it a newspaper website because it’s not that really,” he went on. “We knew we wanted to be different – the internet itself is different now. We didn’t want to do what papers have traditionally always done when they go digital.”
According to ABCe figures released today, the Independent website’s global monthly unique users have increased from 29.9 million six months ago to 40.06 million – setting a fresh record for the site – while daily global unique users rose from 1.65 million in May to 1.86 million in June, an increase of 12.68 per cent.
The launch of i100 follows yesterday’s news that Metro MD Steve Auckland has joined parent company ESI Media as CEO of newsbrands the Independent, i, London Evening Standard and local TV station London Live, which launched in March. According to Broughton, the recent changes represent ESI’s “rapid” change from brands of a mainly print offering to becoming an established multimedia company.
“You can see the growth of independent.co.uk and I certainly think we’re making fantastic gains,” he said. “There’s a huge energy in this building; we’ve fairly rapidly gone from being a fairly print-based company to being a really multimedia publisher.
“We’ve got linear TV, online TV, we’ve got newspapers – the i is just going from strength to strength. Things feel really good, it just feels like there’s a buzz and energy around here, and that’s how things like i100 happen.”
The i100 website will offer display advertising and native advertising opportunities, and it launched with First Direct on board. Opportunities for a mobile app further down the line may be explored if there is demand for it, Broughton added, although it has launched with a mobile web design suitable across mobile and tablet.
The project has been led by Broughton and three additional people were recruited – news editor Matthew Champion, deputy news editor Dina Rickman and i100 reporter Evan Bartlett – to work specifically on the site, although it will pull in additional resources from the wider Independent editorial team and London Live.