Tag Archives: Richard Titus

CMS 2010: Data is a business’ biggest asset, says head of Associated Northcliffe Digital

Richard Titus was shocked to discover that one of Associated Northcliffe Digital’s portfolio businesses was just throwing away its transaction data, when he first started as CEO.

They told him they wiped it each week:  “Well, hard drives are expensive.”

Data is the asset, and a really big opportunity for businesses, he said at yesterday’s Guardian Changing Media Summit.


“It’s very hard to copy; it’s very hard to steal; it’s very hard to pirate and it has incredible large scarcity.

“Data with its scarcity is one of the most important assets most businesses have today. Most businesses give it away; don’t collect it; they wipe it off their hard drives.”

AND, the digital consumer division of DMGT, looks after Associated and Northcliffe digital media sites, as well as online classified sites such as Jobsite.co.uk, FindaProperty.com & Primelocation.com. A significant part of its business is in Eastern Europe, Titus said, where its classified sites are ‘market leaders’.

Its new hyperlocal network Local People was focussed around bringing community-oriented information to groups of 20-30,000 people.

Titus, who previously worked for the BBC, also emphasised the potential to make advertising money out of small and medium enterprises, he said.

Titus said that the “the thing that most matters in digital today is your relationship with the customer”.

New BBC homepage

For those who have not yet sneaked a peek, this is the beta version of the new BBC homepage (thanks to Richard Titus on the BBC Internet blog for the tip).

bbc home page

The new page allows you to personalise and localise what you want to see. Most of your regular and favourite stuff from can be brought to the page so it’s easy to get at.

The little widgets that all the content sits in are also moveable and adaptable, you can set the number and type of stories – for example – that you want to see in each news and blog section.

It also has a nifty little clock and a whopping great ad left top (as always) promoting Auntie’s latest big thing.

But you can’t import feeds from elsewhere into the page, all the content on display has to be BBC content rather than your favourite stuff from other sites and blogs. NYTimes.com’s personalisation feature remains tops in this regard (If only they could add a web mail widget, then we’d be laughing).

The new Beeb page seems very much about making its content more accessible, rather than making the page a necessary ‘one-stop destination’.

Richard Titus is acting head of user experience and design at the BBC, he wrote about the new page:

“From a conceptual point of view, the widgetization adopted by Facebook, iGoogle and netvibes weighed strongly on our initial thinking.

“We wanted to build the foundation and DNA of the new site in line with the ongoing trend and evolution of the Internet towards dynamically generated and syndicable content through technologies like RSS, atom and xml.

“This trend essentially abstracts the content from its presentation and distribution, atomizing content into a feed-based universe. Browsers, devices, etc therefore become lenses through which this content can be collected, tailored and consumed by the audience.

“This concept formed one of the most important underlying design and strategic elements of the new homepage. The approach has the added benefit of making content more accessible, usable, and more efficient to modify for consumption across a wider array of networks and devices.”