LONDON, 18 JANUARY 2011: The Association of Online Publishers (AOP) has appointed Piers Jones, Head of Product Development, Guardian News & Media to Chair the Product Development Committee with immediate effect. He succeeds Mary Beth (MB) Christie, Head of Product Management for FT.com – who was the first Committee Chair when the Product Development Committee was formed by AOP in November 2009.

The AOP Product Development Committee is tasked with ensuring that digital publishers maximise value from their investments in technology. The Committee’s remit covers a range of subjects: from diversifying revenues, to emerging web technologies, product development best practice and product selection.

Product Managers bridge technical, editorial, design and marketing functions, orchestrating and co-ordinating with the needs of the audience in mind. AOP also ran an event focused specifically on this area in December 2010, entitled ‘the Secrets of Product Success’, http://www.ukaop.org.uk/events/aopforumproduct2010tech.obyx, believing this to be a critical area for publishers to launch and continually develop products and websites which are ultimately both commercially successful and suited to their target audience.

Lee Baker, Director of AOP says, “Our committees are our active touch-points to our members to develop the UK digital publishing industry. This Committee was borne out of a need for a common understanding of the roles and responsibilities of digital product managers - and it has proved a useful forum for this group to discuss key issues in this area”.

Piers was recently promoted to Head of Product Development at Guardian News and Media (GNM) and has been there for two years. He leads the Product Management team who work across GNM’s products including Guardian.co.uk, m.guardian.co.uk, jobs, dating and apps, including the iPhone app. Prior to moving to the Guardian News & Media, Piers worked at Reed Business Information, for nine years, in digital product, technology and strategy roles.

2/ New Product Development Committee Chair appointed by AOP

Piers, new Product Development Committee Chair adds, “I’ve been part of this group since it started, and I’m delighted to be able to continue the excellent work that MB has started, helping the group to share information and best practice and to seek ways of further establishing the role of Product Management within the industry.”

MB Christie, former Product Development Committee Chair concludes, “It has been a pleasure chairing this group. I hope we have been able to encourage media owners to recognise the discipline as a critical part of their digital transformation. "

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Further information from:
Lee Baker, Director AOP 020 7400 7568 / lee.baker@ukaop.org.uk
Lorette Nettar, PR AOP 07968 521 684 / lorette.nettar@ukaop.org.uk

About AOP
The UK Association of Online Publishers (AOP) is the industry body representing online publishing companies that create original, branded, quality content. AOP champions the interests of companies from newspaper and magazine publishing, TV and radio broadcasting, and pure online media. The AOP raises awareness, and addresses concerns relating to all areas of online publishing to industry and Government; covering topics such as paid-for-content, online subscription models, data protection, copyright, content management, new technologies and audience measurement. AOP publishes original research including the annual Census now in its ninth year in 2011. It also hosts forums, conferences and events, where members can debate issues, meet peers and network.

The AOP hosts two annual flagship industry events, the AOP Digital Publishing Awards will be held on 9 June 2011, and the AOP Digital Publishing Summit scheduled for 14 October 2010.

AOP Members include AN Media, Bauer Consumer Media, BBC, BBC Worldwide, BSkyB, CBS Interactive, Centaur, Condé Nast Digital, Economist Group, Financial Times, Future Publishing, Global Radio, Guardian Media Group, Haymarket Media Group, Incisive Media, Independent Print Limited, IPC Media, ITV, The National Magazine Company, News International Ltd, PPA, Reed Business Information, Telegraph Media Group Ltd, Thomson Reuters, Trader Media, Trinity Mirror, TSL Education www.ukaop.org.uk

Published on: 11:46AM on 18th January 2011