Monday, 17 December 2007

Full WinSun site

The Winnipeg Sun, the relatively new kid on the Sun Media block, has announced it is going green this week by providing the full daily newspaper online.

Story for story, ad for ad - all for $4.99 a month.

It is the first Sun Media newspaper to provide complete daily content online, but not the first newspaper to test the waters.

At $4.99 a month, and with the depths of another Winnipeg winter approaching, the price sounds right.

"We're the test market," Sun publisher Kevin Klein said in a Winnipeg Sun story. "This allows us to provide a service to our advertisers and our subscribers, while also allowing us to be environmentally-friendly."

The story says "although the paper will appear on the screen just as it does in the print version, readers can zoom in on specific stories, ads and pictures for a closer look."

(The free, partial content web site will not be affected.)

Online subscriptions for five bucks a month will be warmly received by shut-ins, seniors and others who can't always get to a Sun box or a store.

But what makes TSF see red is the Winnipeg Sun's decision to use a green Sun logo for the "green site" instead of the red logo that has been a Sun trademark since 1971.

That sucks big time.

The Sun story says the green logo will be "in keeping with the idea of being environmentally aware."

Well, a green logo just isn't our Sun. We are surprised Sun Media would allow any changes to the widely recognized Sun logo.

Will full online Suns for a subscription fee expand to other Sun Media newspapers?

Probably, if the Winnipeg trial run is successful.

This Toronto Sun reader, housebound by Sunday's wicked storm, would have gladly paid $4.99 just for access to the full Sunday Sun online rather than miss it.

With newspaper sales and readership surveys changing to account for web site hits, those combined, advertiser-friendly numbers will be motivating.

Advertisers aside, full Sun web sites, if the subscription price is right, would open access to countless new Sun readers across Canada and around the globe.

TSF has readers from across the U.S., Europe and Australia who drop by to catch up to Sun Media news and no doubt use the Sun newspaper web sites.

It would make sense for the Toronto Sun to provide a full online subscription newspaper, if only to eliminate the need for trucking papers beyond the GTA.

Give GTA readers the option of daily purchases, home delivery, partial web content and a full online newspaper and Sun Media will definitely be keeping the customers satisfied.

Doug Creighton, the late, great Toronto Sun co-founder and founding publisher, would be excited by the prospect of unlimited exposure of his beloved Sun.

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