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News Corp., the media company run by billionaire Rupert Murdoch, named Paul Cheesbrough as chief technology officer, part of an effort to expand its online products.
Cheesbrough will set News Corp.’s technology strategy, develop digital products and help manage the company’s planned transition into two separate businesses, according to a statement today. Cheesbrough most recently worked as chief information officer for the company’s U.K. newspaper division where he spearheaded development of the online subscription product for the Times newspaper in London.
Cheesbrough’s new role combines responsibilities once held by outgoing Chief Digital Officer Jonathan Miller and the current Chief Technology Officer John McKinley, who is leaving News Corp. to run a technology startup, Nathaniel Brown, a company spokesman said.
News Corp. is preparing for broader organizational changes next year after announcing a plan in June to break up News Corp. (NWSA)’s publishing and entertainment divisions into separate companies. Murdoch will remain chairman of both businesses and chief executive officer of the entertainment division.
Cheesbrough has led the digital subscription business at News Corp.’s U.K. newspapers, specifically for the Times, which had more than 100,000 online subscribers as of this past June, he said in an interview last month.
Part of his strategy includes enlisting Times reporters to drive online subscriptions, through methods such as allowing them share links to their articles with specific constraints, he said. In one example, a reporter can share one of their articles through their Twitter account that would allow the first 10,000 viewers to read the article for free. Subsequent clicks would lead to a sign-up page to subscribe to the Times.
Times also plans to unveil an online classifieds business for the luxury car market soon.
“For us, the future of the print business is really about that customer relationship,” Cheesbrough said in the interview.
News Corp., based in New York, rose (NWSA) 0.8 percent to $24.35 at the close. The shares have gained 36 percent this year.
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