What are the most innovative and important new job roles that are re-shaping the media world? As technology and audience habits change, so do our professional functions.

So we asked our community to name the most vital job titles in a modern media business and we added our own suggestions to create the list below. And before anyone asks, it doesn’t include “head of growth hacking“.

Seven new roles…

— Head of data: Data is key to understanding your audience and key to driving up online advertising prices. It’s a commodity that can be sold on too, but it can also be used to create new packages (as IDG UK has done) to offer advertisers. Someone, like Future Media’s Rob Brett, needs to be making the decisions about how to collect it, and what to do with it. 

— Head of analytics: Every online publisher should be aware of how their content is performing. Even if business goals aren’t directly related to page views or unique users keeping track of activity on your site is the only way to link what and how you are publishing to those goals. The Financial Times for instance is a global leader in this area and has a head of data analytics

— Head of user experience: An increasingly vital role as with any media business it’s how the consumer of that media reacts that’s important. This is a role that covers design, optimisation and has a heavy technology focus. In the end though, it’s about forcing everyone to remember where the product you are producing ends up. One of the more challenging UX roles is currently up for grabs at News International.   

— Chief content officer: This isn’t about overseeing every piece of content, it’s about working out how content fits into broader business objectives. As UBM CCO Adrian Barrick is finding out, it’s an especially important role when your revenues come from activity indirectly linked to content – such as events. 

— Chief revenue officer: Sales are the meat-and-drink of a publisher’s commercial operations, but how to maximise those sales and profits from them over the long-term needs a strategic view, which is what a chief revenue officer is all about. The title is more popular in the US, where both Daily Mail and General Trust and The Guardian have installed CROs to drive expansion. 

— Head of premium information: Hat-tip to LoveMediaSales for this one, who are recruiting for this very specific role that nevertheless sums up a big challenge for B2Bs. This person is  tasked with overseeing a shift from subs/ad model to one based on offering information services. Job split: 25 percent technical, 25 percent commercial and 50 percent editorial. 



Head of social media: This is one everyone knows is important, but as a role it is often misunderstood. It isn’t just about sending tweets and updating a Facebook page – in a media business pretty much all content creators should be involved in social media in some way. Social media heads, such as IPC’s Cathy Ma, should be making sure it’s being done in the right way and its impact is measured properly. 

…and two that have changed radically

— Head of subscriptions: Selling subscriptions has always been something of a science, but digital makes it more akin to biochemistry than mechanics. Bundling and unbundling, building the right packages of online access, digital editions, print editions and sundry other extras is key to gaining, keeping and maximising the value of your subscribers. 

— Chief marketing officer: As with subscriptions, digital has made marketing a far more complex task with many more channels through which to push your products. Social media, newsletters, search and display ads, media partnerships. It’s an increasingly difficult balancing act.  

Function over form

Job titles are important, but as the media business becomes more complex, specialists and the functions they perform are what counts.

Econsultancy CEO Ashley Friedlein sums it up thus: “The war for digital talent in 2013 is becoming complicated by the evolution of job titles, especially as traditional businesses are looking to expand their digital presence.

“Whilst digital marketers and ecommerce professionals are still very much in demand, even more employable are those who have product, data, engineering/developer/technical or architect in their job titles. Combine those words with mobile, social, video, content strategy, platform and manager, director, head of’ and the recruitment consultants are drooling.”