Tuesday, September 08, 2009

National Times To Launch Monday

For an online-only entity, the promotion online for The National Times has been all but non-existent, less than one week out from its official launch.

Google News, for example, has only one current story about the National Times (at the time of this posting). Just the one. And it isn't even from the Fairfax media, it's from Mumbrella :

The announcement released today by Fairfax for to start some hype for The National Times is snoreful :

“Fairfax Media is set to unveil the anticipated online version of its revered National Times masthead next Monday, September 14. Carrying on the National Times legacy, the site will bring together the best opinions, commentary and analysis from leading Fairfax columnists and opinion leaders from around the world on the biggest issues in Australia.

“Watch out for more information, including the announcement of high-profile contributors later this week.”

They probably mean Mike Carlton and whoever the goanna is :

The launch of The National Times, twelve weeks after the launch of Murdoch's The Punch, completes Australia's Old Media absorption of New Media formats like blogging, embedded video and reader-generated content via comments and Twitter feeds.

The National Times has at least 45 opinionists weighing in on a rainbow of subjects and issues. Combined with The Punch, there will, by the end of next week, be more than 70 professional "opinion makers" (were they tempted to use "opinion shapers"?) trying to draw in the massive online audiences already enjoyed by the Sydney Morninng Herald, The Age, The Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun and the Northern Territory News (crocodile attacks are always popular). A few million online daily readers at least.

I don't think it's a question of whether The National Times and The Punch can both find large audiences. Whether that audience hangs around in healthy numbers when they have to pay to read Mike Carlton or, err, Peter Costello, is something we'll learn next year.

Going by the below ad from Fairfax for the National Times....

.....they're aiming for the Digital Baby Boomers, a massive market in the next few decades, as the millions-strong generation that was going to change the world, but invented ultra-consuming instead, crams into Ruddnet-enabled nursing homes, set adrift into thousands of days of retirement with little to do but mournfully play old Doors albums and get online to agree with everyone else at the National Times that getting old is shitty and the Alex Hawke-led Liberal-Greens coalition government of the 2020s is Still Not Doing Enough for elderly boomers.