Guardian appoints 'Labs' MD to focus on 'client collaboration and cross-media partnerships'

Guardian News and Media has appointed the MD of marketing company Initiative Anna Watkins to head up its forthcoming new Guardian Labs commercial division.

Her brief has of Guardian Labs will be to come up with new commercial partnerships such as the Witness project, sponsored by Everything Everywhere, which included the launch of a new app for readers to send in pictures and stories.

The Guardian and Observer titles made an operating loss of £30.9m in the year to the end of March this year, so the company is keen to find new way to boost revenue – particularly from the website.

Guardian.com is the third largest English-speaking newspaper website in the world, and second in terms of popularity in the UK behind Mail Online.

GNM said Guardian Labs will launch later this year and will “mark a bold new direction for the Guardian as it continues in its ambition to build on its solid reputation in delivering new models and ideas to a global audience…

“Guardian Labs will focus on innovative client collaboration and cross-media partnerships in order to drive engaging, digital-first solutions for a broad range of clients.”

Watkins began her career as a graduate at M&C Saatchi. She later worked as director of international sales and sponsorship at PRISA in Madrid, was managing director of content and social media agency Hubbub and managing director of Grand Union Group. She joined Initiative as MD at the beginning of 2012.


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