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March 3, 2014updated 04 Mar 2014 2:23pm

City AM plans online expansion and hires Metro head of digital content

By Jack Fenwick

City AM has announced a major digital expansion and the creation of new online jobs, beginning with the hiring of Metro’s Martin Ashplant.

The London-based business newspaper has appointed the current head of digital content at Metro.co.uk as its new digital and social media director.

The site has promised a succession of hires in the coming months as it builds its online presence.

Ashplant told Press Gazette:  “We’re looking to increase the numbers of digital staff by a factor of five immediately.”

Social media is to play an important part in the expansion plan. Ashplant added: “It is extremely important. Social has got to be right at the heart of the expansion plan so that users can share our content on the current social media sites and the ones that may pop up in the near future.”

City AM chief executive Jens Torpe told Press Gazette: “At the moment we get around 400,000 unique viewers a month, however, we’ve put very few resources in, but based on other sites like Business Insider, we have set a target of 2m unique viewers by the end of next year.

However, Torpe is not planning on giving up on print anytime soon. He said: “In terms of the traffic numbers we certainly expect the website to become significantly bigger than the printed version.

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"However, looking at it from the commercial side, we definitely want to continue to grow our readerships like we have done in the past year.”

Editor Allister Heath added: “I’m very excited by our digital plans. The opportunity for a fresh take on business news online is huge in the UK.”

He will be hoping to recreate the success Ashplant has achieved at Metro, which has seen a 350% year-on-year growth to 27.5m unique visitors each month and around 836,000 daily browsers.

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