The trend for publishers recognising celeb gossip as a route to mass-market page clicks is increasingly global.
In South Africa, Howzit MSN is carving out its celebrity channel in to a separate site, Zalebs, with its own editor and writing team.
The country’s MSN, as in many countries, was formed as a joint venture between radio broadcaster Kagiso Media and MSN. But Kagiso took over full running in 2010. Now Kagiso is making changes.
“It has enjoyed large growth as a channel on the Howzit MSN portal and reached a size where it deserved to become a web destination in its own right,” says Kagiso New Media editor Justin Zehmke, via the South African industry’s Digital Media & Marketing Association.
“We will actively be directing users to the site from the MSN portal, though Howzit MSN will also continue to carry Zalebs content.
“We are making a substantial investment into growing the brand because we believe it has a lot of potential in a market where users are hungry for local celebrity news.”
“Howzit” is a locally contracted form of the greeting “how is it?”.
Another publisher to have done same is the UK’s Mirror newspaper, which carved out its 3am celebrity gossip section to its own distinct 3am.co.uk website.