Digital Spy is a British-based entertainment, television and film website and brand and is the largest digital property at Hearst UK. Since its launch in 1999, 'DS' has focused on entertainment news related to television programmes, films, music and show business to a global audience. Digital Spy is one of the 150 most visited websites in the UK, according to Alexa.
As well as breaking news, in-depth features, reviews and authoritative editorial explainers, the site also features the DS Forum.
In 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.
On 28 February 1999, digiNEWS and ONfaq merged and were rebranded as sites of the new 'digiNEWS network'. More websites joined the network, including 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). While the network grew, it was still served from personal webspace from ISPs such as Freeserve, so 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 but the diginews.com address was already taken. After many many emails back and forth, the name 'Digital Spy' was chosen.
The Digital Spy forums first went live on 1 March 2000, built on the UBB forum platform. The newly named 'Digital Spy' news portal went live on 19 May 2001, running on a custom-built content management system called RAMS (Remote Article Management System).
Digital Spy Limited was incorporated in late 2001 by Alan Jay, Neil Wilkes and Mark Hughes, with Ian Chapman, Jose Cardoso and James Welsh joining later as shareholders.
On 1 August 2011, ownership of Hachette UK was sold to Hearst Magazines UK, with the Digital Spy editorial team and operations unaffected.
On 2 May 2013, Digital Spy won the Media Editorial Team of the Year 2013 at the British Media Awards. On 3 July 2014, Digital Spy won Consumer Website of the Year 2014 at the AOP Digital Publishing Awards.
In October 2015, Digital Spy moved its content management system from RAMS to Hearst's newly developed Media OS.
In October 2017, Digital Spy won PPA Digital Content Team of the Year, and was shortlisted for Website of the Year and Content Team Leader of the Year. In December 2017, almost one million people voted in the DS Reader Awards. In March 2018, Digital Spy was shortlisted for International Website of the Year at the Hearst Editorial Excellence Awards.
In October 2018, Digital Spy won PPA Digital Content Team of the Year for the second year in a row.
Digital Spy Awards
In 2008, the website held its first Digital Spy Soap Awards. The nominations shortlist was chosen by Digital Spy's soaps editor Kris Green. From 2014, the awards became the annual Digital Spy Reader Awards, which polls the site's readers for the best moments in various categories.