LONDON: Weber Shandwick has hired Fiona Battle to lead its content arm Mediaco throughout EMEA.
Battle is the first European hire for Mediaco, which launched in March. The unit is seeking to capitalize on client demand for content.
The practice has a wider remit than PR, including native advertising, digital media buying, and collaborations with tech content firms Adaptly, Contently, and Outbrain.
Battle, who was previously digital lead at Exposure, is joining Weber after a career break. She reports to EMEA head of digital James Warren. Battle will work closely with Mediaco's US head, Jason Wellcome.
Mediaco is part of Weber's digital practice but serves clients across units at a local and global level.
Warren told PRWeek UK the venture aimed to help “clients become brand publishers.”
“They increasingly need to take control of their own story, particularly online. Paid media is vital and fundamental to this,” she said. “The myth is that all you need in social is content, but you have to grease the wheels with media budget.”
As PR agencies increasingly go head-to-head with advertising, content marketing, social, and creative agencies, Warren said the expansion to paid media would give Weber a competitive edge.
He predicted “bullish prospects” for the unit based on its success in North America, calling the media and creative budgets it could potentially take a share of “transformative.”
“The ambitions we have for Mediaco are significant,” said Warren. “Growth and revenue from North America demonstrate significant opportunities.”
With Battle taking the helm this week, the agency is in talks with existing UK clients about possible projects. Consumer and CPG clients are the initial focus, but “interesting conversations with corporate and technology brands” are also taking place, according to Warren.
In the US, senior Mediaco hires have included those from editorial, production, media planning, and advertising backgrounds.
Battle is the latest in a string of London-based hires at the agency aimed at boosting its digital expertise.
Last month, ex-BBC digital programming producer Pete Way joined the firm to lead the agency's digital production and Bite's Nadia Saint signed up as digital head of its technology practice.
It also hired Anna Hardman from Edelman as digital director of its European consumer practice, working alongside practice head Gabriela Lungu.
This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK.