The Guardian’s US web strategy advisor, Caroline Little, is joining the publisher on a permanent basis as the chief executive of Guardian News and Media’s North American operation.
Little, a former chief executive of the Washington Post’s digital division, has been advising the Guardian since July on how it can expand and make money from its US presence online.
Guardian News and Media has now confirmed that Little will take up the newly created post of North American chief executive in the new year, based in Washington and New York.
Her responsibilities will include overseeing the commercial side to the Guardian’s US-facing website, GuardianAmerica.com, which launched in 2007 and is edited by Michael Tomasky.
She will also be involved with ContentNext, the publisher of business media website PaidContent, which Guardian News and Media bought for an undisclosed sum in July this year.
In a statement, Guardian News and Media managing director Tim Brooks said: “This year has seen the beginnings of serious investment in our North American presence, through the expansion of our editorial resource in Washington, and the acquisition of ContentNext Media in New York and LA.
“I am delighted that Caroline is joining us, and the seniority of this appointment underlines our commitment to continued growth in North America.”
Little joined the Washington Post in 1997 and became chief executive and publisher of its digital division, WashingtonPost.NewsWeek Interactive, which includes washingtonpost.com, newsweek.com, slate.com and theroot.com.
Her appointment at Guardian News and Media comes at a time when many of the major British newspaper publishers are looking to take advantage of the popularity of their websites outside the UK.
According to the latest set of ABC-audited national newspaper web traffic figures, 61 per cent of the 25.98m unique users who visited Guardian.co.uk in October were based overseas.
Telegraph.co.uk and Mail Online each received almost 70 per cent of their October traffic from outside of the UK. Times Online and Sun Online recorded 65 per cent and 62 per cent respectively.
Earlier this year, the Guardian appointed Thomson Reuters in New York to sell advertising on Guardian.co.uk to North American visitors.
But in a keynote speech at the WAN digital publishing conference in October, Little said work still needed to be done to turn the “unprecedented” audiences that news websites enjoyed into cash.
“The revenues digital newspapers have enjoyed remain a small fraction of their print counterparts. It isn’t nearly enough,” she told delegates in Amsterdam.
“If there was some secret sauce that could turn these unprecedented news audiences on the web into lots of revenue, I have not found it. And I have been looking for a long time.”
She later added: “Some niche areas may be able to assess a subscription fee, but given the competition in news, it is difficult to foresee that happening.
“We still have a long way to go before declaring victory. The good news is that we’re still in the early innings of this ballgame.
“If we can aggressively embrace the opportunities ahead of us, I believe we’ll survive this storm.”