Don’t know how official it is yet, but the new (South African) Times website is now live. I meandered over to the Sunday Times website, just before the clock struck twelve, which to my surprise, had become the new Times website. The design is similar to the old Sunday Times site.
We’re eagerly anticipating the new (South African) Times newspaper at the WAN conference here in Cape Town tomorrow. It was mentioned by Sunday Times editor-in-chief Mondli Makhanya in his World Editor’s Forum session today. George Brock, the Chairman of that session and publisher of the Saturday Times in London, quipped: “Hmmm a ‘new’ newspaper called The Times hey?”
From a strategy point of view, this is the correct path. It’s always been an uncomfortable fit to have a daily website called “Sunday Times”, yet at the same time you can’t just dump a very powerful local media brand. This new site is a perfect compromise as there is brand parity with Sunday Times in both the name “Times” and the trademark gothic font of the logo, and they have also included the Sunday Times brand prominently as a branded link. Interestingly they didn’t give their online brand a distinct name like the “Times Online”, “Times Interactive, “Times.co.za” etc … this prevents it from being known as “the website” or “website of..” — and helps to create a distinct and strong online brand in its own right. Well done on the launch.