Digital Spy

Digital Spy
Type of site
Entertainment, media, news
Available in English
Owner Hearst Magazines UK
Created by Digital Spy Ltd
Alexa rank Increase 2,837 (September 2014)[1]
Commercial Yes
Launched 1999
Current status Online

Digital Spy is a British entertainment and media news website launched in 1999. The site focuses on reporting breaking entertainment news related to movies, music, television and showbiz. In addition to news articles there are regular reviews posted on popular films, theatre, and concerts.

Original Digital Spy logo used from 1999 until 2013.

On 9 April 2008 it was announced that the website had been purchased by magazine publisher Hachette Filipacchi UK, a subsidiary of the Lagardère Group[2] for a "significant" sum.[3] On 1 August 2011, ownership of Hachette UK was sold to Hearst Magazines UK.[4]

As well as articles, the site also features forums, which went live in March 2000 and give readers the opportunity to discuss various topics. Representatives of several major companies, including Top Up TV, Joost, BSkyB, Goodmans, and Amstrad CEO Lord Alan Sugar[3][5] are registered members who have posted on the forums.


digiNEWS and ONfaq

Early January 1999. Iain Chapman launched the digiNEWS website, providing news, rumours and information on Sky's new digital satellite platform SkyDigital. At the same time, Chris Butcher launched the ONfaq website, offering similar news and information on the UK's new digital terrestrial platform ONdigital. Both sites proved to be popular, attracting a lot of attention from visitors eager for more news about these rapidly developing TV platforms.

Very quickly, Iain and Chris discussed the idea of a merger of the two sites, to create the digiNEWS Network.

The digiNEWS Network

On 28 February 1999 digiNEWS and ONfaq merged and were rebranded as sites of the new digiNEWS network.

Both sites were redesigned with common branding, and new header graphics identifying the digiNEWS network.


More sites continued to join the network - Chris Norris's cablenews:uk (covering NTL and TeleWest cable services), Mark Hughes' DVDNews (DVD news and reviews) and Neil Wilkes' TV:uk (TV news and gossip).

The network was growing, but technically it was still disjointed, served from personal webspace from ISPs such as Freeserve. Discussions with website guru Jose Cardoso began, and work started on integrating the multitude of sites into a single portal.

It was important for the new site to be easily accessible, so a .COM address was preferable, unfortunately the address was already taken, so a new name was needed. After many many emails back and forth, the name Digital Spy was chosen and more importantly the .COM was available.

Digital Spy

The new Digital Spy forums went live on 1 March 2000. They were built on the UBB forum platform.

The new Digital Spy news portal went live on 19 May 2001, running on a custom-built content management system developed by Jose and called RAMS (Remote Article Management System).

In November 2015, Digital Spy hired ex editor of Heat Julian Linley in the role of editor-in-chief as the website attempts to challenge BuzzFeed and Mashable.[6]


  1. " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  2. "Lagardere buys UK web portal". Forbes. Thomson Financial News. 9 April 2008. Retrieved 9 April 2008.
  3. 1 2 Byrne, CIar (28 April 2008). "Hachette spies a good match with a digital duo". London: The Independent. Retrieved 29 April 2008.
  4. Rusche, Dominic (28 March 2011). "Hearst buys Elle rights in $651m Lagardère deal". The Guardian.
  5. "Alan Sugar". Retrieved 16 February 2011.
  6. Mark Sweney. "Digital Spy hires ex-Heat editor in battle with BuzzFeed and Mashable". the Guardian.
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