Northcliffe prepares for website roll-out

LONDON - Associated Newspapers' ongoing shake-up of its digital operations will see Northcliffe Media assert more control of its 40-plus strong portfolio of websites.

Mike Rowley has moved from AN Digital to Northcliffe Media to take charge of a relaunch of the This Is network, due to be rolled out early next year.
Rowley’s previous role of digital director of the This Is network at AN Digital has been rolled into the new job of digital publishing director at Northcliffe Media.
Rowley said he has spent the past year integrating vertical sectors, including property and motoring, into the This Is network, and the next stage is to relaunch the entire range of sites.
The roll-out will start next week with the addition of individual websites for Croydon, Surrey, Kent and Sussex to the This Is network, following the firm’s takeover of Trinity Mirror newspaper titles covering these areas.
“We’ve got 40-plus sites at the moment and we’re heading north of 50,” said Rowley. “Relaunching the sites will be an incremental process, so it’s difficult to comment on specific features at the moment.”
The look and feel of the individual sites will be driven by research, according to Rowley, who said that Northcliffe Media was mirroring consumer demand.
Rowley will now report into Northcliffe managing director Michael Pelosi and will take some of his commercial team with him in his new role.
Northcliffe Media will still rely on AN Digital for some display advertising and commercial partnerships, as well as technical support. Northcliffe Newspaper Group changed its name to Northcliffe Media in January in a move to make digital as integral to the business as print titles.
It recorded digital revenues of £7.7m in 2006 and attracted more than two million monthly unique users to its portfolio of sites.
AN Digital last week replaced its Integrated Media division with two new divisions – digital services, and digital display and commercial opportunities – in order to help individual newspaper titles take on more responsibility for their digital operations.
Last week’s shake-up included the appointment of Mark Milner, former managing director of AN Digital Integrated Media, to the same role at AN Digital’s specialist divisions.
Meanwhile, ex-Virgin Media head of content and business development Roland Bryan was appointed as director of strategy.

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