Website Comparison: Sydney Morning Herald VS Radio 2UE

"Web's the way for newspapers or radio", by Greg Tingle

The internet has opened a vast range of new and exciting opportunities for traditional media outlets, such as newspaper publishers and radio broadcasters.

Take the Sydney Morning Herald and Radio 2UE for example. Both media companies are recognized leaders and innovators in their field, however are worlds apart in the delivery of their news and information - or, at least they were, until the internet came along.

2UE broadcasts around the clock, via the AM dial to Sydney, the nation's largest radio market, representing almost 3.6 million people, with radio advertising valued at $180million. The station has been a solid ratings performer for the past six years with its mix of news, talk, opinion and sport.

The Sydney Morning Herald, on the other hand is the leader and flagship of Australian newspaper publisher, Fairfax, of which carries a circulation rate of over 224,000 daily (Monday to Friday) and over 390,000 every weekend.

By nature, SMH and Radio 2UE are news outlets, SMH being traditionally print, and 2UE being, of course, radio.

One need little imagination to realise that there are in fact more similarities than differences between the Radio 2UE and SMH website, when you consider that both are delivering news and entertainment via the web, when both companies already dominate there choose vertical in the media business.

There are a number purposes for having an advanced online website for these companies. The name of the game is revenue, which is dictated by both audience type and numbers, which dictates how much advertising revenue can be garnered. This is also measured in "market share" and ratings, in the case of radio.

The audiences these two companies are trying to attract are not as different as one may first think. Both organizations have internet savvy, media hungry consumers, based throughout the Sydney region. The Radio 2UE audience is generally older - granted, however the basic fundamentals remain the same. James Borg, Media Analyst for Hitwise Australia, Australia's online authority says, "at the end of the day, its all about capturing the media audience an online capacity, and both 2UE and SMH are doing this effectively".

The internet has seen these two media giants competing in the same market - the online medium, which competes for what industry practitioners refer to as "eyeballs" (meaning audience eyes looking and experiencing), sessions (how long the audience stays on the site), and impressions (how many pages the visitor looks at during the session). In the case of websites where audio and video "grabs" are all the rage, perhaps a new term needs to be coined, such as "earlobes" or "information rate per second". Both companies also offer an optional e-mail update service, to alert the customer of new developments at the said company. At any rate, SMH and Radio 2UE have been attracting new, internet savvy audiences via their websites.

Radio 2UE's website features the ability to listen to the station live and provides the option of the visitors being able to send away an e-mail live to the announcer who is currently "on the air", or to anyone else in the company for that matter. The visitors also can see who or what is coming up next, read about their announcers hobbies, and enter online competitions. 2UE also caters to their current and potential advertisers, as does the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Sydney Morning Herald, on the other hand is news and information rich, and also caters for an audience who appreciates interactivity, whilst offering a vast array of multimedia in both audio and video formats. The Herald also republishes their classifies over the Fairfax network, including the SMH website.

Clearly, the internet has been a winner for Radio 2UE and SMH, as the race for information and entertainment accelerates at a rapid pace into the new millennium.

One thing is for certain, the Media and Internet "space" will remain closely related cousins for a long time to come.