Guardian Regional forms company to focus on new media

Guardian Media Group Regional Newspapers is forming a new company to explore new-media opportunities.

Guardian Media Group Regional Newspapers is forming a new company

to explore new-media opportunities.



It will draw together the internet and broadcast activities of all

regional divisions, which include Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire,

Surrey and Berkshire, and Aldershot.



The managing director of the as yet unnamed company is Debbie Phillips,

who was formerly joint commercial director of the Manchester Evening

News.



Phillips is joined on the board by Manchester Evening News’ deputy

editor Maria McGeoghan, plus Tony Whalley, who will be the new-media

director.



Whalley has been instrumental in developing the Manchester Online

website - part of the This is Britain network - which carries a mixture

of news, sport, entertainment and classified advertisements from

Guardian Media Group’s Greater Manchester titles.



The ad section carries the Fish4 brand.



The new company will also participate in a Cable & Wireless Digital

Interactive television venture, contributing news and classified ads

from the Greater Manchester region.



Phillips said: ’It is our aim to be the gateway to Manchester and we

will be exploring different partnerships and alliances.’



A dedicated sales team, located in Manchester, is being recruited by

Phillips to sell advertising into the company’s electronic ventures. It

will be supported by the ad sales teams of the 40 newspapers in the

group.



Phillips is considering the need for a separate sales team to handle the

Surrey and Berkshire division’s online activities, which include the

website Get Reading.



Guardian Media Group Regional Newspapers’ chief executive Ian Ashcroft

said: ’A dedicated e-business company will be able to focus on a wide

range of new-media opportunities which we have already identified.



’Our electronic ventures to date, particularly Fish4, have all proved

extremely successful.’



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