Following its overnight platform migration and some last minute fine-tuning, RDS.ca is now live with a new look and feel.
The redeveloped site was just unveiled this morning, with a refreshed design and revamped back-end that puts its content offerings front and centre, while also opening up new display opportunities for advertisers.
Québec’s well-visited – more than one million unique visitors per month, RDS reports – sports portal is positioned as an important point of contact for the French language sports specialty channel and the overall RDS brand; specific developments at RDS.ca come on the heels of other sports-related corporate initiatives in the last few months (RDS2 and RDS INFO are now on air, new HDTV services and technologies are in place, new studios and sets have been constructed, and parent company Bell with its TSN and RDS sports specialty channels has also launched a behind-the-scenes look at the Montréal Canadiens in a new seven-part docu-reality series, called 24CH.)
In development and beta stages for over a year, the new RDS.ca site came from a collaborative effort among the Digital, Marketing and Art Direction departments of RDS; Bell's Web Experience Team; as well as technology platform supplier Atex, an international software company that has sold content management and media publishing solutions to other Canadian media companies like the CBC, Postmedia Network and Glacier Media. As well, RDS confirms that ‘‘major investments’’ were made on the back end, including new servers and interconnect gear.
The new RDS.ca site offers sports news and results in real-time, and there are photo links to breaking news stories, as opposed to the former text columns that were used.
An increased emphasis on video content, as well, appears across the site, which also has dedicated home pages for the NHL, MLS and CFL Quebec home teams.
The site includes enhanced community-based content and links to popular social media sites, as well as RDS’ own Le Grand Club and its dedicated online community of sports fans.
Site developers say a new interface, with improved tools for vertical scrolling, offers additional brand visibility for individual section sponsors as well as ROS campaigns.
New sizes, formats and positioning options for ads, contest and sweepstakes are designed to bring added visibility for sponsors.
“The new RDS.ca has a modern and uncluttered look, and the cutting edge technology behind the site provides an enhanced and immersive user experience. In essence, we based our development on the best practices of website design, and took them a step further,” Martin Ceré, Senior Director, Digital at RDS, explained.
With more than one million monthly uniques, RDS reports some comfort with its visitor numbers, so increased stickiness, more social sharing and interactions, higher page views and click-throughs are among the benefits anticipated from the new site.
“Launching the new RDS.ca is another major step in our strategic development and it constitutes the fulfillment of a series of commitments made by RDS,” said Patrick Jutras, Vice President, Sales & Marketing at RDS. “We are in a position to serve our customers and advertisers better than ever across all platforms. At the same time, this is a structural improvement that will facilitate the evolution of our offering over time, as new realities transform the marketplace. We can proudly claim that we have kept our promise!”
More promise-keeping is to come, it seems, with RDS.ca looking to add greater support for online interactivity, mobile device access and other digital media features going forward.