BusinessWeek.com Revamp Touts Fresh News

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The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. redesigned its BusinessWeek Online's home page with easier navigation and new content features.


The changes on businessweek.com come a year after BusinessWeek magazine was redesigned to commemorate its 75th anniversary. The online redesign aims to differentiate the two versions.


"A lot of people think that the Web site is built around the magazine, which comes out every week, but the thing is we have fresh news every day," said Kathy Rebello, editor-in-chief of BusinessWeek Online, New York. "This redesign is supposed to capture that. It's also designed to capture what BusinessWeek does best: analysis and point of view."


The home page is crisper and more vibrant. A new red-and-black theme -- BusinessWeek's corporate colors -- with dark blue headlines is evident. That replaces the previous aqua headlines amidst the clutter.


A new lineup of columnists is borrowed from the magazine. They include the magazine's chief economist, Michael Mandel, and Standard & Poor's chief economist David Wyss. The site features at the top of its home page a new column daily grouped by theme. The selection includes the economics column on Monday, international insights on Tuesday and power brokers in business and politics on Wednesday. The technology and science column runs Thursday, and one on personal finance and lifestyle appears Friday.


Readers also can access presidential election news via the Campaign 2004 section featuring Q&As with political figures, instant polls and a Web log from BusinessWeek's political reporters.


The site covers the latest economic, financial and technical news in a daily destination called Top News.


There's also a general polling area for visitors to express opinions on several issues. There are a series of stories, profiles and Q&As on the art of innovation as part of BusinessWeek's 75th anniversary.


The makeover does not neglect multimedia. The site improved its BWTV center, an online video area where users can glean what CEOs, authors and other newsmakers have to say on issues of the day. Online visitors also can watch clips from BusinessWeek's "Money Talks" TV program.


BusinessWeek Online's video enhancement follows an industry trend. Sites like Forbes.com, ABC, NYTimes.com and FoxNews.com have invested heavily in rich media presentations to complement the written reports.


Such changes make BusinessWeek.com more appealing not just to readers, but also advertisers, as the site changed its configuration of ads. Where the home page previously ran skyscraper and thin horizontal banner ads, now it leans toward box-sized ads that are much larger.


"The shapes that we've had before were not much popular, and the ones we have now are more preferred [by advertisers]," Rebello said.


According to its media kit, 64 percent of BusinessWeek.com's monthly audience of 3.2 million unique visitors is male. Seventy-five percent of these senior executive users are older than 35. Almost 75 percent of the visitors have an annual household income exceeding $50,000, in brackets reaching $150,000 and more.


The editorial and advertising changes, in effect since early August, seek to complement and distinguish BusinessWeek.com from the magazine.


"We felt that the way the site was designed before is that it did not telegraph that we had so much fresh news," Rebello said. "And the other part is that we did not think it was easy to navigate, and sometimes there were redundancies."


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