As tech plays an increasingly important role in the news business, U.K. newspaper the Guardian has decided to open up its first office on the U.S. West Coast.
It makes sense that the company would want to strengthen its ties with the tech industry, and it’s doing so by hiring former Google head of media partnerships David Gehring, the Guardian told VentureBeat today. The hire indicates the Guardian is making a move that many media companies have tried lately: Turning to tech partnerships to bolster business and audience development.
Previous to this announcement, the Guardian’s only U.S. presence was in New York.
The Guardian tells VentureBeat that Gehring will assume the new role of “VP of partnerships,” and will focus on forging tech-related deals for the entire company. Gehring, whose background also includes heading up news partnerships at Google-owned YouTube, will be based in San Francisco and report to Guardian media director Tony Danker.
“Technology has long been a core part of our strategy and we made the move to digital first some years ago,” Danker told VentureBeat. “The move to expand our West Coast presence reflects our continued commitment to our groundbreaking open strategy which at its heart seeks to engage readers wherever they are — on and off our own platform — making our partnerships in Silicon Valley mission critical.”
It’s also pretty clear why the Guardian is trying to integrate itself further into the U.S. market. The news organization said it’s seeing over 23 million unique visitors from the U.S. alone. Overall, the Guardian claims it has boosted global traffic by 24 percent in the last year, with 105 million unique visitors, and has increased its digital revenue by 25 percent to $117.5 million in the last year.
“Historically, among publishers, we were very early adopters of the web, and with every digital advance we have sought to immediately innovate, learn, and change. In recent years we have invested hugely in our own digital capability, building strong engineering and product functions,” Danker said. “This has paved the way for far more productive partnerships with the major platforms, and as they take an increasing interest in high quality and premium content, we believe the potential to innovate together is great.”