Now if my sources are correct — Primedia’s 702 is about to make a big web play, which will involve extending their authoritative news brand online. It will probably entail the creation of a new top level domain and news brand, linked to 702. My guess — and this is a guess — is that it will most likely be called eyewitnessnews.co.za, their radio news brand. A quick look at the whois confirms that Primedia in fact owns the domain and booked it a while ago.

If this is indeed the case — its the right strategy: Leave 702.co.za as the brand to promote and add interactivity to the radio offering, and then for a serious and successful online news site, create a new brand, division and culture that would move in its own direction, ie — it would not be diluted or burdened by the already-strong radio offering.

Primedia already own iafrica.com, a rather big portal with its own news offering — but attempts at synergy between the portal and the company’s radio assets have not been successful. It’s not really that surprising as I believe Primedia to be quite an entrepreneurial environment, promoting fairly hectic competition between the various brands and divisions internally… a structure that I believe produces a degree of excellence.

5 Responses to “Primedia's 702 to make big web play?”
  1. @Mandy de Waal — if its a new internet domain & brand then I think they will be making that move to build a proper online business, away from the radio assets.

    They will need to produce text for the new online brand… ie proper news stories, as opposed to replicating their audio content online or writing short summaries of the news…ie they have to make a big move into text — it’s still the main content currency in the online media arena.

  2. Interesting. Radio is showing strong growth (bucking the trend for most traditional media), and coupling that with internet (another direct response vehicle) is smart, particularly with the broadband/access boom just around the corner. What remains to be seen is the content. I reckon that 702 have lost the content plot a couple of times so will have to watch whether they will be able to clearly differentiate radio and online content while driving audiences between the two.

    702 used to be THE place for breaking stories and investigative journalism – but they’ve lost that high ground of late to other media. They will also need to reinvigorate their news personalities. While Gibbons may work well on air – will he translate online to a younger, sassier audience?

    Interesting one to watch.

  3. Fair enough…

    Hadn’t really considered the difference in cost vs. a radio station etc…

  4. @Marc — building new online platforms and brands is actually not an expensive excercise if approached strategically and intelligently. Moreover compared to say creating a radio station or TV channel, the cost is negligible. It’s precisely that reason why creating new online media channels is so attractive (and easy).

    Knowing 702, they would build it themselves from the ground up. They are entrepreneurial — and that’s what entrepreneurs do.

    Consolidation creates less players, but then encourages a new crop to rise up…

  5. Ullo Matthew

    Interesting post. Was surprised about the comment about the creation of the new top level portal considering the amount of work that goes into getting these things off the ground. Particularly with cash burn being high when trying to do this.

    I was getting the impression that the big media players are trying to force consolidation by buying up anything that resembles a slightly successful site (traffic wise).

    Where do you think their strategies are headed – are they going to simply sprinkle money around buying up smaller players or are they going to try and grow it organically?

    (Alternatively are they going to try and boost their own existing platforms further)

    I guess blunt question – how do you see the SA online space being broken up between the big players and the private media houses??

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