The UK tabloid Sun has had some of its plans for its upcoming web relaunch leaked to the Guardian, and one of the big changes will apparently be that the newspaper will incorporate a focus on local information, news and user-generated content, called MyStreet, to beef up its ad revenue. The News International (NYSE: NWS) owned daily paper will be building on an existing web service, Sun Local, that it launched with online classified ad firm Oodle last year.
The Guardian writes: “The service will ask users to sign up for free to a personalized homepage for their local area including maps, a virtual pub discussion area, a mailing list for residents and a dating service. MyStreet will generate revenue through a property section, ads for local services such as window cleaners and builders and display advertising from local companies.”
The tabloid-format Sun is the UK’s most popular newspaper with some 8 million readers a week, but Sun’s management estimates that only 800,000 of those readers use the newspaper’s web site — or 10 percent of its readers. The push to get more online users is also coming from pressure on the print side: the print readership is forecast to drop by about 736,000 readers (or 5 percent) this financial year. At the same time, the company is targeting an overall increase of 2 percent in readership (combining print and online).