Hindustan Times’ new paper- the fresh “Mint”

I still haven’t got my copy of Hindustan Times’ new business paper ‘Mint’- I was supposed to hand over a slip of paper to the vendor to deliver it, and wasn’t able to catch him in time. Might go over and buy it off the stands.
There is, however, a pdf available online, of the front page, at their site www.livemint.com . Some observations on the site (will update with notes on the paper):

– The site requires registration for access, so HT’s collecting a database for advertisements. Information that is mandatory: country, city, educational background and year of birth.
– A call to action: users are asked to vote online for a story that they want more info on. That’s cross-media promotion (in a way). However, what’s disappointing is that the poll is only between noon and 3pm – isn’t polling done on an impulse? Maybe it should have been there in the morning as well.
Reporters’ email addresses are prominently displayed in the print version (there’s a pdf on the front page on the site). Which means they’re looking for people to contact them. Good initiative.
Social Media tools: digg, del.icio.us and newsvine(???)
– For Ye Olde Readers, CSS option to increase the font size.
– Alerts on page changes and views??? I didn’t get that.
No option for user comments – very disappointing. That drives traction, and if they’ve got registration, they should have comments too, with warnings for inappropriate comments. In fact, I’d have been pleasantly surprised if they had an option for picking up relevant comments and showcasing them…though that might be too much of a task for the editors.
– Most viewed, most emailed and editors picks. Most viewed and most emailed are standard – I quite like the idea of editors picks.
Advertising from Unitech and Ford – high end brands.
No Ajax. I guess we’re spoilt by AJAX,and the easy navigation it allows. The problem, for me, is that the page looks as if it has AJAX, in terms of the design, so the lack of AJAX is disappointing.
Quick Hits – quite like the idea, and they’ve done something similar with page 2 of the print edition.

Overall, I like the design because it is a comfortable read. I just hope it doesn’t become like an IBNlive, which started off with a clean, readable interface, and then became banner heavy. I also like it that they’ve covered the entire page, and kept a moderate font size, instead of leaving a right column empty for advertisements. I think they’re looking to charge a premium (which we’ll find out about soon, hopefully, when I talk to someone in HT)

Also, HT’s done a HUGE jacket on the Hindustan Times. Not unexpected.

A couple of days ago, I received a little booklet called the Initial Public Offer (corny) from HT. Take a look.

From HT Launches Mint at ContentSutra):

Apparently, the name Mint was chosen because they didn’t want to keep a standard name for a paper like Business, Times or Journal. In fact, the first name that they considered was ‘Orange’. HT’s Mint is a 24 pager, priced at Rs.2. The weekend edition is a 12 pager called Mint B, and with a magazine called Lounge. They’re also planning to encourage users to vote online for stories that they want deeper analysis on. Page 2, called QuickScan, lists all the stories in the paper with a short summary.
– IBNlive has a video here.

Update:

– No RSS Feeds: Can’t believe I missed this. I couldn’t find any RSS feeds! That’s archaic. Ajax is secondary – you really ought to be using each and every online distribution method: RSS syndication is a must.
– This seems to be for the PR companies: fairly comprehensive news alerts by email, including an option for whether or not the sentiment is positive or negative.

Update: Thanks Shyam. So they do have RSS feeds, but they’re not clearly visible. None of those standard orange square boxes (that you see on the right in my sidebar) on the main page, but just a link on the sidebar. My mistake – I should have spent more time searching for them. Their mistake – they should have made it more obvious. So, lots of RSS feeds there, and for all categories. That’s something I want done for every news site and blog. And preferably, for tags, not categories.

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9 Comments

  1. Hi Nikhil,

    This is Alex from the liveMINT team- I came across your blog, and wanted to thank you for your post and detailed review. We greatly appreciate any feedback that our readers provide, and I have shared your comments with our team members. In the next upcoming releases, we look forward to incorporating several of the features you mentioned, including additional Ajax functionality, online blogging, and user comments.

    Again, please do not hesitate to contact us at customersupport@livemint.com if you have any additional thoughts or comments. We look forward to bringing our readers “refreshing clarity in business news.”

    Thanks,
    Alex
    LiveMINT Team

  2. Shefaly: thanks. Went through that list, and so far, agree with everything. There are a few others that I can think of, but then there are at least six features stories that I have to write – but there’s just no time.
    Ankit – exactly. I think they’re looking to collect data on users who wouldn’t mind registering (thinking it’s a norm), initially. Eventually, I’m sure, they’ll open it up.
    Ideally, it should have been done the other way round – first have open registration to build traction, and then maybe risk losing some of them by offering registration.

  3. The Web2.0 design of livemint. 🙂

    I even gave them my email id, But when I came to the next page. I said no thanks.

    One of my friends from HT involved in the launch of the site said that they had help from some UI shop during the design phase. So why the need for HT to lauch a lead generation engine under livemint. Sigh..

    Some people never learn, do they..

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