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International: Times Online plans revamp

13-October-2006
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International: Times Online plans revamp

Times Online, the website of the Times and Sunday Times, is planning a major redesign and relaunch.

The overhaul, scheduled to happen within the next few weeks, follows a recent revamp of the website's travel section to include a search engine that readers use to create tailored web pages on selected holiday destinations.

Similar changes are understood to have been planned for other sections on the site, including motoring and property.

Recent innovations include the Note, a downloadable PDF file available each day at 5pm containing business news, analysis and comment, and Comment Central, a comment blog.

The relaunch comes after the Times managing editor, Anne Spackman, and the Sunday Times managing editor, Richard Caseby, were installed at the website in July. Both are close to their respective editors, Robert Thomson and John Witherow.

Ms Spackman was made editor-in-chief of Times Online while Mr Caseby became assistant editor while retaining his post at the Sunday Times.

Their appointments were taken as signs that changes were planned for the site, including further integration of print and website operations, which has happened in the Times money and business sections. Ms Spackman has made a raft of appointments to the site, including hiring the former editor of Mixmag and founder of the musicians' blog Musicthing.co.uk, Tom Whitwell, to the new post of communities editor, expected to be a major part of the relaunched site.

News International, the UK division of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation - which owns the Times, the Sunday Times, the Sun and the News of the World - has been expanding its website operations this year. Mr Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive, approved an increase in investment for the UK newspaper websites at News Corp budget meetings earlier in the year in New York.

Times Online, which has 9 million monthly unique users, has been expanding recently with more podcasts and multimedia services, including the introduction of Times Online TV, which screens TV clips and news footage. It recently announced that it would screen footage from Sky News.

The site has also launched a digital magazine, Select, that carries content from the papers' magazine supplements. The Times Online redesign will follow a revamp of the Sun, which last month redesigned for the first time in five years with a new tabloid style and emphasis on video content.

Source: MediaGuardian

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