Associated breaks up its integrated digital division

LONDON - Associated Northcliffe Digital (AN Digital), the digital arm of Associated Newspapers, is handing back control of its huge range of websites to individual publications as part of a series of sweeping changes.

AN Digital Integrated Media, the division that looks after newspaper sites, such as the Mail Online, Metro and the ThisIs series of regional sites, has been axed. Two new divisions – digital services, and digital display and commercial partner-ships – are being created to support the individual titles.
AN Digital will now concentrate on the group’s pureplay sites in areas such as jobs, travel and property. Karen Kemble-Diaz has been promoted from chief technology officer to head the digital services division. Meanwhile, Andy Mitchell, who last month joined from Adlink, will head the digital display and commercial partnerships section.
In the most senior of the moves, Mark Milner, managing director of AN Digital Integrated Media, is taking up the same role at AN Digital’s specialist divisions, where he will oversee vertical channels including property, motoring, dating and price comparison sites.
Roland Bryan, meanwhile, has joined AN Digital as director of strategy. Bryan was previously head of content and business development at Virgin Media. He will report to AN Digital managing director Andy Hart and will oversee the strategic insight team.
The company said that it always planned to hand control of sites to individual publications. The latest devolution of power from central office came last month with the launch of standard.co.uk, a news and comment site that now houses thisislondon.co.uk as its entertainment section.
AN Digital claims to reach 8.5 million unique users every month. The group’s decision to allow more autonomy for individual sites differs from many newspaper groups that deal with advertising centrally. Hart said that the changes would allow talented people to drive the group forward.
The group will implement the changes immediately.
Associated Newspapers has boosted its digital portfolio with a host of site launches this year. In May, the Daily Mail tried to lure travel advertisers online by launching travelmail.co.uk.

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