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Hull Daily Mail’s interactive success

Thousands of Hull City fans enjoyed the drama of football’s transfer deadline day, posting a comment on average every 5 seconds in a day-long interactive discussion with Hull Daily Mail journalists.

The Mail team conducted a running commentary and debate with fans of the Premier League club on Tuesday, 1st September, from 9am to 5.30pm.

The service, using Cover It Live functionality, and related coverage resulted in rocketing website traffic as the Mail benefited from interest in the Tigers' transfer dealings following the £6m-plus sale of star player Michael Turner to Sunderland the day before the deadline.

Stories on the live and interactive service on the Mail’s main website, Thisishull.co.uk, and dedicated sports site, Sporthull.co.uk, received over 10,000 page views. Transfer-related reports received just over 25,000 page views, in addition to traffic generated by the interactive service.

The level of participation was unprecedented for the publisher. A total of 6,271 comments were received from users - the equivalent of a comment posted every 5 seconds throughout the day. The Mail’s sports journalists published 1,811 of them, and responded with 507 of their own answers to questions, observations and updates on transfer activity, speculation and rumour.

Interest in the service extended beyond the time it was running live, with hundreds more users viewing it again that evening or the next day.

The Mail also sent out two alerts to subscribers to its Sportsflash mobile service - the first on Hull City's signing of Senegal defender Ibrahima Sonko on loan from Stoke, and then, at the stroke of 5pm when the window closed, saying no other signings had been announced.

Once the dust cleared, the sports team put together five pages of detailed coverage for Wednesday’s paper.

Editor John Meehan said:  “This was our most ambitious interactive service yet and it received an astonishing response. It was a superb demonstration of our ability to use digital media to interact with users on a running story through the day.

“We showcased how effectively we can differentiate our journalism. On the web we focused on breaking news and interaction; we used mobile to send out immediate news flashes to fans; and for the paper we produced a comprehensive, reflective and analytical package placing the events of the day and Hull City's transfer activity in full context and perspective.”

Sports Editor Paul Baxter said: “The interactive service was far more popular than we could have imagined. We were amazed by the sheer volume of posts and questions sent to us. Possibly the best feedback we had was from supporters who thanked us for bringing the news to them in such an instant and entertaining way throughout the day."

The Mail has a reputation for innovation in print and online. For the past two years it has been named Multi-media Publisher of the Year in the Regional Press Awards.