Reach eyes data boost with John Lewis chief on board

Reach_titles2Reach, the company behind the Mirror, the Express, the Star, and a raft of regional press, has signalled its intention to ramp up its data operations by appointing John Lewis Partnership’s head of insight to a board advisory role.

Barry Panayi,  who is director of data, insight and analytics at the retail group, adds the Reach non-executive job to a similar role at Ofgem, which he took up 18 months ago.

He started his career as a data analyst, joining Proximity Worldwide in 2001. Panayi then had spells at Vanquis Bank, EY, and Virgin before taking up the role of head of data science at Bupa in 2013. He became chief data and analytics officer at Lloyds Banking Group in 2018 and joined John Lewis Partnership in March.

Reach, which can trace it roots back to 1903, has gone through decades of mergers and acquisitions and most recently snapped up the UK publishing assets of Northern & Shell, including the Express, Star and OK! in February 2018.

Formerly Trinity Mirror, Reach now owns nine national newspapers; over 110 regional titles, including the Birmingham Mail, Manchester Evening News; and more than 70 online brands, including the ‘Live’ digital network and InYourArea.

Panayi’s brief at the company has not been disclosed but the bosses at Reach will no doubt have had their heads turned by the increasing number of publishers who are launching platforms based on their first-party data, in response to the demise of third-party cookies.

Earlier this year, News UK, the company behind The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun, Virgin Radio, TalkSport and Times Radio, launched a data platform which it claims will give advertisers the chance to reach more than 36.5 million customers.

Dubbed Nucleus, the platform is based on first-party data, which the media giant claims offers a more privacy-compliant, future-proof and accurate approach to targeting.

Future, the global media group behind brands Marie Claire, Homes & Gardens, Country Life, Total Guitar and Four Four Two, followed suit last month with its Aperture platform.

It is claimed to give advertisers a transparent, privacy compliant and future-proof solution, with access to audience segments and new targeting capabilities across more than 180 of Future’s digital brands and 300 million monthly global users.

A recent report commissioned by Permutive from Forrester predicted that publishers would increasingly work with brand owners in an effort to ensure brands have compliant data for their marketing activities.

It insisted that publishers’ first-party data will be the new media currency in the future of digital marketing as a privacy-safe foundation for brands to continue targeting consumers – without identifying and tracking them across domains.

At the time, Permutive co-founder and chief executive Joe Root said: “This research only goes to highlight that publisher first-party data will be paramount to tailored and relevant digital advertising and will drive trusted, direct relationships between brands and publishers.

“While there has been much discussion surrounding diminishing third-party cookies, it should be seen as a tremendous opportunity to build privacy-safe solutions that empower publishers and ensure brands can reach their audience while building trust with consumers.”

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