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AsiaOne, straitstimes.com drawing more eyeballs - Nov 16, 2007 (ST)

BackNov 16, 2007

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

AsiaOne, straitstimes.com drawing more eyeballs

AsiaOne tops Hitwise news ranking with 8 million pageviews; Straits Times site hits new highs.

By Claire Huang
Nov 16, 2007
The Straits Times

CONTENT enrichment in the past six months has paid off for AsiaOne and straitstimes.com.

MORE HITS: Online users like AsiaOne (above) for its varied choice of news. As for the ST website, the discussion boards, online Forum page and vodcasts have proved to be very popular.

The Singapore Press Holdings free online portal and The Straits Times website has since been getting even more hits, and last month it topped the latest Hitwise ranking for 'latest news and media' in Singapore.

Hitwise is a respected online measurement company which determines the most popular websites by monitoring more than 800,000 sites worldwide.

AsiaOne's pole position came after it started to cast its net wider for more content and interactivity. Last month, AsiaOne drew in eight million pageviews - a 22-month high.

For those who wanted more on-the-ground reporting that went beyond radio and TV, AsiaOne seemed to be the website of choice.

Some of the value-added stories found in AsiaOne included the battle of Chinese exports Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian in the American NBA professional basketball league and a beauty pageant for transsexuals in Thailand.

Laboratory officer Phyllis Tan, 26, who goes online regularly to get her news, likes the portal's choice of news.

'AsiaOne focuses more on human interest stories from the region and it is more captivating. The website also has the latest major news stories, which means I can get the best of both worlds,' she said.

For such reports, AsiaOne looks beyond local publications. It also monitors, among other sources, Malaysia's The Star and New Straits Times, Thailand's The Nation and Indonesia's The Jakarta Post.

To create more space on its homepage, a 'flash rotator' was introduced to showcase, at any one time, five of its most impactful stories.

AsiaOne has also morphed into a truly interactive portal where every story is open to readers' comments.

The Straits Times (ST) portal, straitstimes.com, also broke new ground last month.

It attracted 7.6 million pageviews, its highest since it adopted a partly free, partly paid subscription model in 2005.

Since May, breaking news from Singapore and around the world - previously available only to paid users - have been freely accessible.

Adding a discussion board to selected stories to allow users to add their comments has proven to be a hit too.

'I like the discussion boards. They not only let viewers have their say on a topic, but also let them add background information that might be obscure, under-publicised or simply not available,' said freelance writer Edmund Mark, 26, a regular on straitstimes.com.

Other free features on straitstimes.com, such as the online Forum page for readers' letters which do not make it to print and 'vodcasts' (video-on-demand news reports), have also seen impressive growth.

Heartened by readers' responses, ST editor Han Fook Kwang said: 'It shows the huge potential of The Straits Times and AsiaOne in connecting with Singaporeans on the Net.'