The 'compact' weekday Herald is just around the corner. But APN New Zealand's digital team will also have a few new toys to play with, with a revamped nzherald.co.nz website, a new social reader for Facebook and updated mobile and tablet apps set to go live on Monday 10 September. And to help keep everyone up to date with "the most significant changes being made to the company’s print and online products for a decade", it has even launched a new microsite, nzherald.co.nz/themoreyouknow.
"The changing digital landscape requires an innovative approach to content, and we must be continually evolving to meet the digital demand," says Spencer Bailey, general manager at APN Digital.
The new home page for nzherald.co.nz will introduce a cleaner and more contemporary design, making it easier to find the most important stories of the day, with clear signposting of the latest and most popular news pieces.
"Our readers are accessing news content 24 hours a day, seven days a week, across print, online, mobile phones and tablets," says Bailey. “It is essential that our evolution takes all of these platforms into consideration to ensure the best, integrated approach to delivering news."
The social reader for Facebook is a first in the New Zealand market, and, like those created by The Guardian and The Washington Post, allows readers to engage with Herald content without leaving Facebook. Facebook users will be able to view nzherald content based on personal interests or content popular with friends and prioritise, share and rate news in relation to how they feel.
"Ultimately, what we are providing is even more ways for our readers to engage with our content and have their say," he says. "Best of all, it gives readers control. Unlike other social readers, you don’t automatically have to share stories with your friends. You can decide what and when you share."
The improvements to the Herald’s mobile and tablet applications will give readers greater ability to interact with the printed editions. New applications will include scanners to match featured QR codes on selected articles in print editions, which will give readers easy access to complementary digital content such as video, photo galleries and polls.
"We have actively sought feedback from the online community through hundreds of hours of in-depth consumer interviews and product testing to ensure all our new offerings further enhance our reader’s experience,” says Bailey. "We’re really excited about our new digital initiatives and believe they all show an ongoing commitment to delivering high quality and relevant platforms for our readers."
And in related news, APN New Zealand has also announced a strategic partnership with Australian integrated mobile and digital communications company Mobile Embrace.
The partnership includes nzherald.co.nz, APN Regional titles in New Zealand as well as The Radio Network, and it will see APN utilise Mobile Embrace's mobile technology platform, commercial expertise and creative and production services.
"Mobile Embrace's strategic thinking and experience, coupled with the best of breed technology will allow APN to lead the mobile space through creative excellence and innovation," says Donna O'Keeffe, sales director, APN Digital. "Mobile is becoming increasingly important as a communication platform for brand advertisers so we are excited to be working with the market leaders in this space."
Sarah Kavanagh, sales manager for Mobile Embrace NZ says cutting edge creative such as its HTML5 ad formats are beginning to attract the attention of major brands in New Zealand.
"Our partnership with APN not only gives those brands Mobile Embrace's production, creative and ad-serving capability, but compliments this with APN's premium and unrivalled mobile audience. Working alongside APN this deal will allow us to deliver easy-to-deploy mobile solutions to brand advertisers. We're delighted to have been appointed APN's strategic mobile partner and look forward working closely with them in both territories."