1XL launches audience development division with hire of Richard Underwood

05 Sep 2017  |  Newsline Staff 
1XL launches audience development division with hire of Richard Underwood

Local news publisher co-operative 1XL as launched a dedicated audience development division this week, to be headed up by former Local World and Telegraph executive Richard Underwood.

Underwood brings with him nearly two decades of experience developing audience acquisition strategy for media brands and was most recently head of audience development at Local World.

1XL, which represents 30 of the UK’s leading local news publishers in the national advertising market - including Johnston Press, Newsquest, Archant and DC Thompson - offers advertisers access to over 800 of their local news brands across the UK and Ireland.

Reporting into 1XL’s MD Scott Gill, Underwood will be tasked with consolidating the fragmentation of technology and websites across 1XL’s publishers to help them build audiences at scale and boost revenue.

“Investment in audience development is integral to how our publishers scale and make money, as it improves their visibility with the machines and algorithms sat between their sites and the end user," said Gill.

"Richard’s appointment is reflective of our ambitions to evolve beyond our original mandate as a publisher co-operative as we move further and further into audience acquisition. It’s great to have an audience development specialist like Richard on board, and we see this as a great opportunity to collaborate more extensively with our publishers in the coming months.”

1XL said the new division will enable it to take on a more advisory role to its publishers, while "bridging the gap" between sales and editorial to ensure that both sides are aligned on how best to monetise content.

Richard Underwood added: “Local publishers are not currently turning up the volume enough on their premium content. Given the fragmentation in the market, it’s now more important that audience acquisition becomes the connective tissue between publishers’ revenue and content.

"Google’s algorithms mean traffic is sent to the bigger news brands, while smaller, more local publishers are feeling the squeeze. Audience development plays an important role in rebalancing this, which in turn helps publishers scale and make more money, and I’m excited to drive this initiative forward at 1XL.”

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