There are fans, and there are sports lovers… and News Corp is backing on the latter category to deliver a new subscription revenue stream in Australia.
A new channel called Code will have world tennis number one Ash Barty, cricketer Steve Smith and NBA star Patty Mills as ambassadors, and will draw content from them, News journalists, and News’ global network.
“Where the fan consumes the game and wants the result, the sports lover immerses themselves in the stories of the game and players and searches for the meaning,” says News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller.
Code is “a direct outcome” of News commitment to attracting new audiences with new media channels.
He says that while stories of sport enjoy huge appeal amongst Australians, “these are stories that will appeal to all lovers of great stories, not just sports lovers”.
Code will combine News’ storytelling talents with its technology expertise to provide “the kind of primal emotional connection that sport delivers”.
Research had confirmed that “a gap existed for a competitively-priced digital sports story proposition”. The new channel launches this week at a starting $8.99 a month via website and app.
Leading the new brand is former publisher, editor and journalist Alex Brown, who has worked for ESPN, the San Francisco Examiner and The Guardian. He has led sports newsrooms in Australia at Fox Sports, News and Fairfax.
In addition to content from News’ own team, Code will draw on broader group publishing and broadcast assets including The Times and the Wall Street Journal, plus SuperCoach+, Match Centres, podcasts and video from Fox Sports and Kayo.
• Trade publication Mumbrella has reported that News Corp Australia is also looking to acquire Stockhead, a news site for emerging ASX-listed companies. It quoted founder and chief executive David Greer that “things are definitely moving in a positive direction” after several months of discussions.
Stockhead was a co-founder of PR consultancy Media+Capital where his place on the executive team has recently been taken by Tracey Sen.