“It’s just to test our systems, and we believe this is going to help us a great deal as we prepare for the launch which is coming soon,” editor Vuyo Mvoko said in a statement posted after the site went live on Wednesday night.
“It is important that we start putting ourselves on trial now in order to give ourselves that competitive edge.
“It is not a complete product. It will improve drastically as times go. Right now, we would actually be happy to hear if our readers can also send us comments and suggestions on the kind of product that they think would suit their needs.”
The test-phase version features red, black and grey type and offers a mixture of news, sport and lifestyle articles sourced from agencies and original copy.
It also offers a Facebook and Twitter feed.
The print publication is expected to hit the streets in two weeks at a cover price of R3.50.
It says that advertising space will be sold per square centimetre as opposed to column centimetre, “giving advertisers a lot more flexibility in the size of their advertisements”.
According to publisher TNA media, it will be “GLONAREGICAL” — global, national, regional and local — covering all nine provinces in one product.
Its “strategic investor” is Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd which publishes The Times of India.
The broadsheet is expected to have 32 pages, with an initial print run of 170,000 copies targeted at LSMs 4-10.
Essop Pahad, a former minister in the presidency during Thabo Mbeki’s time, is listed as a senior advisor and board member on a press release.
In 2007 Pahad said in his personal view the government should stop advertising in the Sunday Times, because of articles he believed misconstrued the government of the day’s views.
Atul Gupta is executive chairman of TNA media.
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