Sky News 2600 case study

Subscription-Based Publishing Platform Design & Development

About Sky News

Sky News launched its unique digital platform, 2600, which delivers political news to a highly influential targeted audience of politicians, chief of staff, lobby groups, trade unions and political enthusiasts.

The Challenge

The Sky News team needed a clean, easy-to-use digital newsletter, supported by a responsive CMS-powered website enabling content editors to schedule crucial content for timed morning releases to a high-profile audience of the nation’s political community.

Flexible news subscription service delivers daily digest to the nation’s political community

Sky News launched its unique digital platform, 2600, which delivers political news to a highly influential targeted audience of politicians, chief of staff, lobby groups, trade unions and political enthusiasts.

Subscribers to the political newsletter sent on weekdays at 6 am, can find exclusive stories, breaking news and expert analysis from the nation’s most powerful postcode.

It’s always appreciated when an existing client recommends your work to others and when Sky News approached Sitback because of a successfully delivered Nine Digital project we didn’t hesitate to help.

The project had a number of challenges that the team took in their stride including delivering to a very high-profile audience with a strict five-week deadline, a requirements list, which whilst not complex, was at an unrefined stage, and all of this within a fixed budget.

The brief was to deliver a clean, easy-to-use digital newsletter supported by a fully responsive website driven by a powerful Content Management System (CMS), giving content editors the ability to schedule crucial content for the timed, morning releases.

“The goal is not to reach millions but to capture and engage this lucrative market with a range of up-to-the-minute, original, curated content.”

Adam Marsters, Editor, Sky News 2600

Adam Marsters

Editor, Sky News 2600

Time to impress

Leading the charge was the Experience Design team who understand that when users come to your site you have a matter of seconds to influence them; getting the user experience optimisation right is vital to quickly gaining trust, brand recognition and customer retention.

collaborative workshop was the vehicle to define the business and user requirements and to gather the information needed to produce the Information Architecture (IA) and wireframe schematics. This visual presentation of the website and newsletter hierarchy, page layout and features and functions was an important first step in communicating the shared understanding of the requirements and ensuring that a positive customer experience was being created.

The green light to move to the next phase was given through client approvals and the Web Development team took over the reins with a daunting three weeks to build, test and launch Sky’s new digital media product.

Sky News 2600 UX wireframe

Intuitive, no-nonsense development

WordPress was selected as the CMS of choice and with the clock ticking it was essential that a flexible, high-quality, cross-browser compatible theme was found. Our diligent team conducted its research and found ‘Pressroom’ to have all of these qualities and more. As the name suggests, it is best suited for magazine, newspaper, news, blog publishing or review sites. The drag-and-drop page builder made the solution highly customizable for Sky News to create and manage any page layout. It also allowed our developers to effortlessly reuse their own custom components resulting in a faster and more efficient development phase.

Armed with Sky’s creative style guide, the customer journey was brought to life and a visually compelling user interface that spoke to the principles of trust, integrity and innovation was born.

Under the hood, our Software Engineers innovated an automated scheduling tool empowering Sky News’ content editors to easily create a draft homepage with new content to be automatically published each day, coinciding with the delivery of the digital newsletter at 6 am. In fact, the editors have complete control over the reporting with the ability to create multiple schedules for different articles, videos and podcasts for delivery at different times throughout the day. At the user’s end, they can opt-in to have a handy reminder added to their calendar to tune in to daily Live TV sessions.

“From the get go we had a very clear picture of the stages/sprints and as we moved through the different stages of the project there was picture perfect clarity of what was required from us. We were in good hands the whole way through”

An organised approach

The tight deadline was one, if not the biggest, challenge and for Sitback to deliver on time an agile approach was agreed upon. Of course, there were a few core ingredients added to ensure a successful outcome:

  • Exceptional project communication.
  • Team collaboration.
  • A pragmatic understanding of the technical limitations.

The consensus was that weekly sprints and demos would be the best way to communicate progress. A schedule was created and with each sprint delivery, an approved feature list was developed. The client showcase was organised at the end of each week and changes were made on the spot or captured and included in the subsequent sprint. The iterative model of ‘build > feedback > update’ worked exceptionally well and allowed the team to deliver four days ahead of schedule!

TV news camera filming a middle aged man wearing a grey suit and white shirt
Sky News 2600 website displayed in a desktop computer

Timing is everything

The timing of 2600 couldn’t have been better with the lead-up to the elections and the platform is quickly establishing itself as a serious and reliable news source for political enthusiasts.

The Sky News team is quietly excited having attracted a daily readership of up to 4,000 people, including Senators, Members of Parliament and business leaders.

“We are delighted with how it is performing.
The number of EDM registrations exceeded the target within the first month and the open rate has been consistently higher when compared to our other EDMs.”

Does Your business need to deliver exceptional experiences on a tight timeline?

Just because you have an aggressive project schedule, doesn’t mean the customer experience has to suffer. We can help you define your goals, prioritise tasks, and deliver an exceptional experience to your customers, all while ensuring your MVP hits that deadline. To find out more, get in touch.

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