Sheffield's role 'expands' with creation of News DNA

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Musical chairs at News Corp Australia follow the creation of a new News DNA business unit designed to provide advertisers with a "single point of contact" to reach audience groups.

Nicole Sheffield - now you know why she was added to the Future Forum speakers' roster - moves to a new managing director role after four years heading News' NewsLifeMedia magazine unit.

Current executive general manager for Herald & Weekly Times Peter Clark has been appointed executive general manager, metro and regional digital for News DNA.

Filling the gap as managing director commercial at HWT is Peter Zavecz, who makes what has been seen as a timely exit from Seven West's Pacific Magazines business - where he was chief executive - at the end of a week which saw major circulation falls and the axing of four of its print titles. Zavecz - who began his HWT career as a Herald copy clerk in 1975 - will work alongside Peter Blunden, whose role is Victorian managing director editorial.

DNA stands for Digital Networks Australia, which News Corp Australia executive chairman Michael Miller says will offer a single point of contact for commercial partners to connect with the audience groups they choose, "with a consistency of service and products and therefore, results".

Sheffield's "expanded role" will see her take the lead in implementing a company-wide commercial digital strategy: "We are the largest digital content publisher in Australia with category leading websites, but with the continued rapid evolution of information technology and new ways of meeting consumer needs, News needs to have a senior executive with oversight of our total digital commercial strategy," he says.

Miller says Sheffield (pictured) has had "tremendous success with our biggest digital assets" in news.com.au and taste.com.au. She will focus on aligning News' digital properties and their content to keep pace with the needs of both its commercial partners and consumers. Prior to joining News in July 2014, she was general manager of Foxtel's LifeStyle Channels group.

Sheffield describes the opportunity to build digital networks for News' masthead products as significant, and says the trust and influence Clark has will propel growth for the mastheads digitally.

"In this new role, Peter will be key to developing a new operating model for each of our metro and regional businesses to grow digital innovation, audience and advertiser revenue across a portfolio of digital assets including 12 metro and regional news websites with a unique monthly audience of 6.2 million Australians."

Clark began his career as a marketing assistant at HWT in 1997, and was appointed publisher of The Weekly Times in 2004, and then HWT's online business manager. Subsequent roles included chief digital officer, digital operations and business strategy manager, and in 2013, executive general manager.

Pacific Magazines' top sellers New Idea (down 14.5 per cent) and Who (down 18.5 per cent) were among titles reporting circulation falls last week. Practical Parenting and Bride to Be are to go digital-only, while Your Garden and Prevention will no longer be printed.

Nicole Sheffield is a speaker at next month's NewsMediaWorks Future Forum, being held on September 2 at The Ivy, Sydney.

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