Online papers prevail, Star plans to shine on Web

The number of newspapers online is on the increase, and they're doing storming business, said the Electronic Telegraph and London Evening Standard this week.

The Electronic Telegraph claimed to be the first online newspaper in the UK and started in November 1994. It said it has over 30,000 readers a day, and regularly launches new sites, such as its Fantasy League, which is based on the Fantasy Football section of the paper where viewers can pick their own players and teams.

The London Evening Standard began in April 1996 and offers current information on news, sport and business. Dave Maud, the media editor for The Evening Standard, told ZDNet UK News that it mirrors the newspaper's content and provides information on the markets. Maud added the site has around 80,000 visitors on weekdays.

The number of visitors that these newspapers receive suggests there is a demand for newspapers on the Internet, and profits are on the up. Both newspapers say that they make a profit from the advertising on the pages and through their sponsors. The Electronic Telegraph described itself as an advertising pioneer since 1994 and said it is continually keeping advertisers interested in the pages with new ideas.

In related news, The Daily Star this week released plans to launch its new Web site, Megastar. "The site will provide a unique environment for advertisers," said the newspaper. "The very latest ad management software will allow advertisers to target specific audiences, rotate copy control frequency of exposure as well as giving them online access to their ad's performance statistics."

Megastar will offer news, sport, pop, showbiz and even a 3D pub and nightclub where viewers can interact with one another. Characteristically of the Star, it will also offer a "Totty-vator machine" which enables the user to pick their favorite Starbird and "tells you off if you get too picky!"

The site is set for launch on September 1. Editor Dennis Green said: "Only a small proportion of Daily Star readers have Internet access at home, but many have access through work and college. We'll also be looking to tempt new readers who may never have seen The Star in print but have a taste for beer, footie...and totty, of course. There won't be any metaphysics or literary reviews unless Eric Cantona does his memoirs."

The Star claimed the site will be the only Web site from a UK national tabloid that is freely available on the Web.