MirrorFootball.co.uk Puts Faith In Its Long Tail

Trinity Mirror’s MirrorFootball.co.uk is due to go live on Thursday, in time for the new season (Update: MGN says the launch has shifted to Friday). Coupled with a planned 3am.co.uk site for The Mirror’s 3am Girls celeb gossip columnists, it’s clear Trinity Mirror (LSE: TNI) is picking off Mirror brands it feels are strong, that might survive as standalones, and might generate payments from users – but will it work… ?

Following last week’s earnings, when Sly Bailey said MirrorFootball.co.uk would resurface The Mirror’s football photo archives, a journalist working on the project tells Greenslade: “Users will be staggered by the depth of content going back more than a century … Our belief is that people will come for the news, but they’ll stick around for the archive. It has been crafted into hundreds of features rather than plonked on the servers like some all-you-can-eat buffet.”

England fans are fond of reliving their 1966 glory, but will readers really visit (and perhaps pay for) a site with lots of great old content? Football news is a crowded market indeed and we’re not yet sure that The Mirror’s football news brand is so much better than other papers’ – or, for that matter, whether fans will use MirrorFootball.co.uk before sites operated by their own team.

But Trinity has close football links through owning Rippleffect, a web design house with several club clients, and other features will include match live blogs. The effort to spin sites out of the below-par Mirror.co.uk site, for specific audiences, holds out hope. The journalist continues: “It appears to us that newspaper websites are paying so much attention to search engine optimisation and accumulating gazillions of unique users, that the content itself has become commoditised almost beyond the point of redemption.”