- - Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Washington Times announced Thursday that it is launching a subscription-only digital edition to serve its growing national audience of readers who consume news on tablets, cellphones and other mobile devices.

The Washington Times National Edition will debut in September as an HTML5 application that can be accessed on any mobile device with a modern browser. It will present the newspaper’s best stories and commentary in a magazine-style, interactive reading environment while showcasing exclusive content not available on other platforms offered by The Times.

“We’re excited to finally be able to invite the millions of our readers across the country to The Washington Times club with a subscription product that serves national audiences as powerfully as our local print edition serves readers in the Washington, D.C., area,” said Larry Beasley, president and CEO of The Washington Times.

Added John Solomon, The Times’ editor and vice president for content and business strategy: “We’ve partnered with some of the country’s cutting-edge technology companies to create a ‘living newspaper’ that updates itself throughout the day, formats itself to the mobile device you are using at any given moment and showcases exclusive content that can’t be accessed anywhere else.”

Officials at The Times said the new National Edition leverages the power of HTML5 programming to create an intimate reading experience akin to the heyday of national magazines while offering readers and advertisers the power to interact and engage content in a mobile digital environment.

“It’s the best of both worlds — a newsmagazine whose cover stories update throughout the day while giving readers the power to share, engage and interact with news and opinion in a four-dimensional environment,” Mr. Solomon said.

The Times plans to charge $2.99 a week, $5.99 a month or $39.99 a year for a subscription to the National Edition. Full annual subscribers to the daily print edition can use the app free of charge, and the newspaper plans to keep open and offer free access to its content on its website at washingtontimes.com.

Readers can go to www.washingtontimes.com/TWTapp to sign up for an early release of the app. Early registrants will get a 30-day free trial before subscription fees are charged. The app is expected to be offered in the Apple App Store and Google Chrome Web Store later this year.

The National Edition will include several sections of content each day, including Top News, Opinion, Sports, Politics, National Security and offerings from its citizen journalism portal known as TWT Communities.

The Times tapped the expertise of several leading technology companies. World-renowned Web designer Roger Black led the construction of the HTML5 app with Italian-based partner Savory Publishers Group, using a platform known as Treesaver.

“It’s great to be able to put Treesaver, the original responsive HTML5 publishing platform, to work for such a dynamic news team,” Mr. Black said. Added Andrea Campi, Savory’s president: “The Washington Times is the best proof yet of how Savory can help design, develop and host terrific digital publications.”

Online shopping startup NetChange helped build a unique subscription portal that allows readers to earn money toward their subscription fees by engaging certain advertisements and marketing opportunities inside the app.

“NetChange is excited to join The Washington Times team in delivering an experience where users easily access valuable paid content from any device and get rewarded for the time and attention they spend with online advertising,” said Douglas Ranalli, the founder and chief executive of NetChange.

The Times is working with connected consumer management giant Gigya to build a unique registration and social login platform that in future releases of the app will allow readers to customize and individuate their National Edition to their personal interests and the discussions in their social media circles.

“We saw a huge opportunity to help The Times establish meaningful relationships with its digital audience,” said Patrick Salyer, CEO of Gigya. “By integrating our full Connected Consumer Management Suite, The Times is able to increase its user base and revenue by gaining a complete understanding of its users and delivering a more personalized, social and relevant news experience.”

The Times also announced Thursday that it has hired Peter Vandevanter, a veteran newsman and digital publisher who has helped lead the industry’s efforts to create individuated, personalized news products, to be its next director of advocacy, politics and government sales.

Mr. Vandevanter, whose annual Individuated News Conference draws technology specialists from around the globe, will help oversee partnerships to extend the National Edition app to affinity partners of The Times. Under a program to begin this fall, those partners will be able to incorporate their content inside special advertorial sections that will reside alongside the newspaper’s news and opinion content.

“It’s an exciting new day in media, and I’m thrilled to be a part of The Washington Times team that will lead the way,” Mr. Vandevanter said.

Mr. Vandevanter’s annual conference will move to a new home at The Washington Times starting next year.

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