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– Blyk: Telegraph Media Group development director Shaun Gregory is quitting one year in to the job to head up ad-funded mobile network Blyk’s UK operation. A former Emap (LSE: EMA) Radio branding MD, Gregory joined The Telegraph at its new Victoria HQ in October 2006 to lead its cross-platform expansion, including signing a deal with ITN to produce video news bulletins for the site. But he will now become UK CEO of Blyk, which launched a fortnight ago. The network, which will operate using Orange’s infrastructure, will give free mobile services to customers in the 16-to-24 age bracket if they agree to receive advertising SMS and MMS to their handsets. Though many are suspicious of the concept, Gregory (via Media Guardian) said Blyk was “one of the most compelling advertising opportunities I have ever seen”.
– Times: AOL’s (NYSE: TWX) UK sales director Giles Ivey is joining Times Media in the new role of digital commercial director (via MediaWeek). It’s about bringing in more ad income – Ivey will oversee digital ad revenue and, judging by today’s IAB figures showing UK ad spend ballooned 41 percent in the first half of 2007, that should be quite a fun position to exploit. For the same reason, it’s a bit of a blow for AOL, which is reforming itself from an ISP to an ad-funded content portal and only relaunched its UK site last week.
– Sony (NYSE: SNE): Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) has lured Damian Newton, Disney (NYSE: DIS)-ABC International Television’s VP of sales for the EMEA region, to work as its VP of digital initiatives, C21 reports. He will develop subscription and electronic sell-through VOD and will manage Sony’s Screen Gems and Film Flex on-demand movie operations. Newton will also roll out content agreements SPTI has made with operators in Poland and France.