Monday, 17 November 2008

CoverItLive - now that's what I call instant

Back in January I started working with the group sports editor on a project to improve sport content online. From the kick-off (see what I've done there) we looked at how we produce match reports, package them and deliver them to the fans.

One of the primary requirements we focused on, was giving the fans the reports when they wanted it - now.

So inspired by the BBC's live match reports, we set about on a programme of rolling out live updates from one of the main teams in our circulation area - it wasn't Manchester United, but it was a start.

But within the first few games, we discovered a major flaw in the system. Being part of a larger media organisation, the website which was hosting the live updates was subject to rechaching delays, meaning the live updates were far from live.

Around which time the Liverpool Daily Post discovered which they had used for this year's local elections. It was instantly clear that this basic third party app was the platform which could carry our live match reports.

Since then, together with the sports editor we have rolled out the live updates using CoverItLive to three of the main teams in the district.

The success of CoverItLive is its simplicity. It's easy to use, allows truly live reports and, in true web 2.0 style, allows followers to contribute through comments and participating in polls.

The Canadian developers behind the application are constantly working on improving what is already a basically perfect tool. But they have done just that, unveiling new features, the latest of which has seen the integration of Twitter.

Using mobile PC devices as previously mentioned on this blog, reporters who would otherwise be attending the game to produce a post-match report anyway are now able to file directly online.

How can news websites afford not to do this?

The most successful of our current CoverItLive match reports regularly attracts more followers online than the team gets through the turnstiles. In the words of Alan Partridge: Back of the net!

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