The Guardian Reaches Further Into U.S. Market with L.A. Outpost

Nigel Smith Tapped As Entertainment Writer

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Attendees of the Telluride Film Festival.
Attendees of the Telluride Film Festival. Credit: Pamela Gentile
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The Guardian is expanding its footprint in the U.S., hiring Indiewire Managing Editor Nigel Smith as an L.A.-based entertainment writer to strengthen the paper's coverage of film in America. It's also signed on as a sponsor of the 42nd Telluride Film Festival this Labor Day weekend in Colorado.

The Guardian's film coverage is read by an average of 10 million unique browsers a month, the company said.

The film festival sponsorship and the hiring of Mr. Smith -- who will write for the Guardian's U.S. edition, as well as contribute to its wider film team -- marks the latest step in the U.K.-based Guardian's aggressive push into the North American digital market, where it introduced a U.S. homepage in 2011.

The U.S. site attracted 28.2 million unique visitors across desktop and mobile devices in May, up 36% from the prior year, according to ComScore. The U.S. site's editor, Katharine Viner, was recently tapped as editor-in-chief of the Guardian, succeeding retiring editorial chief Alan Rusbridger.

Lee Glendinning is now the editor of Guardian U.S. site. She was the site's deputy editor and head of news since late last year.

On the business side, the Guardian hired MEC exec Eamonn Store last year to serve as CEO of U.S. operations. And in January, it brought on Mindshare exec Rachel Israel as executive VP of Guardian Labs U.S., its in-house creative agency.

Planting a flag on the west coast with an entertainment writer gives the Guardian's business side a beachhead to win more advertising business from Hollywood studios.

"The development of more U.S.-authored film and entertainment journalism is a major focus for our ongoing growth plans in America," Mr. Store said in a statement. "The appointment of Nigel will significantly strengthen our film coverage, while our partnership with the Telluride Film Festival … will help us engage with more like-minded film fans across the U.S. and further afield."

Another British newspaper, the Daily Mail, is making a similarly strong push in the American market. Last week at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the Daily Mail announced a partnership with Snapchat and WPP to start a content marketing agency called Truffle Pig. It also revealed plans for a syndicated TV show called "Daily Mail TV."