Rae's appointment boosts INM digital strategy
INM's thrust to dominate the digital media space was strengthened last week by the appointment of Stephen Rae as Editor in Chief of the Sunday Independent, Irish Independent, and Evening Herald.
"We are preparing a number of strategies to increase our online presence," said Mr Rae. "We are also investing heavily in our online operation, including the recruitment of specialist digital journalists and content editors as well as social media experts."
The new role is designed to ensure that the titles are increasingly platform (print, online and mobile) agnostic and collaborative, while preserving their unique ethos and tone of voice.
Kerry-born Mr Rae, 46, will have responsibility for the titles' print and digital publications, ensuring that the titles are appropriately structured, resourced and aligned for an increasingly digital future.
The global newspaper and media industry is being transformed as previously free online content will now be commoditised through pay walls. INM is planning to introduce metered online content later this year.
"Our print titles are performing extremely well and are the market leaders in their categories, but that won't distract us from maximising our digital presence," said Mr Rae.
"Our strategy is now a 'Digital First' one and we will soon unveil plans to make our titles the only true multi-platform media on the island.
"In many ways there has never been a more exciting time for journalism and, in particular, the Independent Group's trusted brand of journalism. We see a lot of opportunities to build on our quality journalism."
Last week's sensational Anglo tapes story, carried in print and online, led to a huge surge in online audience – including a fivefold increase in video play. There was a record 155,629 video views on independent.ie on June 25.
INM's share price has sky-rocketed this month as its transformational debt reduction strategy was overwhelmingly backed by investors.
A deal to sell its South African operations was agreed by shareholders at an EGM, with funds used to slash debt.
INM generated operating profits of almost €60m last year, making it Ireland's most profitable large media and publishing group.