Online publishing and ad firm Media Corp recently launched sport.co.uk, with the aim of developing the site into a major web destination for sports fans.
We talked to Sara Vincent, the commercial director of Media Corp’s publishing division about the launch of the new site…
Tell me about Media Corp.
We have two divisions, a publishing arm and advertising team. We work closely with the ad guys to monetise the sites and buy traffic.
With the publishing arm, we operate professional, user friendly sites within a range of verticals. Other sites include gambling.com, creditcardexpert.co.uk, onthebox.com and flightcomparison.co.uk. We look to be leaders of the field in each of these areas.
We are an AIM listed company, having floated back in 2001. We were formerly known as Gambling Corp but rebranded as we planned to become a media and marketing business across a range of verticals.
What kind of reach do you have across your various sites?
Our ad networks reach a combined audience of around 30m users, while our publishing arm alone reaches about 10m.
Why did you decide to launch a sports site?
It was an area that we were thinking of moving into, and the fact that this domain name became available speeded the process up. Sport is one vertical that has a lot of interest and potential traffic.
Though we have a UK domain name, we want the site to appeal across Europe and eventually the US. We also want to expand into verticals in other key markets, and dominate as many as we can.
What is the focus of the content?
Our news headlines and results are secondary to the content on the rest of the site. We wanted to focus on user interaction, news is the same across most sports sites, and we want to differentiate ourselves by the quality of our columnists, editorial views, interviews and forums.
We have some well known sports personalities writing monthly columns on their sports, including Andy Goldstein from Soccer AM, Paul Merson and cricketer Robert Key.
Tell me about the editorial team behind the site
We will have three people working directly on the site, as well as using freelance contributors. We hired Nigel Brown to edit the site, a sports enthusiast who has worked on other sports publications before this, and came to us from T3 magazine, where he was the features writer.
Do you publish any titles offline?
We do send out a magazine for users of gambling.com – this is a free, ad-supported publication which we send out to a user base of 200,000 people. We may do this for Sport.co.uk once we have built up the site’s audience.
Who are the site’s main competitors?
We think we will complement sites like Sky Sports and BBC Sport, as sports fans tend to use multiple websites for news and comment. Apart from these sites, I don’t think we have any direct competitors.
How do you plan to build traffic for the website?
We have an in house SEO team, and will mainly focus on driving traffic to the site through organic search. We already rank well for the main term due to the domain name, and will look to build on this. There is a lot of potential traffic out there for this type of site.
We have also promoted the site through social media; we have a Facebook Group which promotes the site, as well as a branded channel on YouTube.
How useful has your social media promotion been?
Both of these channels are great for us as they bring an audience that is used to user interaction, commenting- getting involved in the debates which works very well for us.
We have 400 members in our Facebook group, while our branded YouTube channel has attracted nearly 200,000 views for 96 videos.
How will you monetise the website?
At the moment we are selling direct banner ads on the site, as well as running sponsored competitions. When the audience is large enough we plan to offer targeted ads within the various channels on the site, as well as looking for sponsorship, and advertising through our newsletters.