Digital Spy has appointed Julian Linley, a former editor of Heat magazine, to the newly created role of editor-in-chief as the entertainment site challenges rivals such as BuzzFeed and Mashable.
Moynihan, a former NME.com editor, joined in March 2011 taking over from Digital Spy co-founder and longstanding editor Neil Wilkes.
Linleyâs appointment comes as Digital Spy looks to improve the way it uses and engages with readers on social media.
âPeople consume content socially so much now that it is important we have a destination site, good SEO and we embrace how content is being discovered on social feeds and is being shared socially,â said Linley. âWe need to approach from a more social viewpoint. More shareable content, imagery and videos; writing headlines that will make people stop and look at Digital Spy on social feeds and recognise it is us and not someone else. Digital Spy is its own brand and has its own voice.â
In 2013, Digital Spy claimed 24 million monthly unique users, with a double-digit percentage growth curve, now it says traffic levels are at 15 million.
At the time Hearst said that Digital Spyâs audience was âequal to Mashableâsâ; now Pete Cashmoreâs site claims 45 million global unique users.
Hearst UK says the drop is down to changing the way it measures traffic.
However Daniel Knapp, senior director of advertising research at IHS, says that it is the growth and fierce competition from well-funded rivals that is more likely to be mostly to blame.
âA change in measurement alone would not account for such a big drop,â he said. âBrands like Mashable and in particular BuzzFeed have established themselves as global media powerhouses that are dramatically outperforming Digital Spy.â
IHS estimates that about 64% of Digital Spyâs readers are in the UK, only a small reduction from the 70% level in 2013, meaning it has not managed to drive large international audiences to date.
Digital Spy has UK, US and Australian versions of the site.
At Hearst Linley will take on a number of as yet unspecified âspecial projectsâ.
Digital Spy, which creates about 150 stories a day, covers TV, film, music, tech and gaming.
Linley appears to suggest that the new-look site may look to refine its coverage â Digital Spy started out more focused on TV and entertainment.
âDigital Spy is already credible, trusted and knowledgeable, which provides a perfect foundation on which to build,â he said. âIt is my vision to build Digital Spy into a global 24-hour breaking entertainment news operation.â
Linley said that he intends to increase staff numbers â the site employs about 40 full-time and part-time staff â in âareas that will be obvious after we do itâ, which would seem to imply social media-related posts.
Linley moved off away from editing Heat after just one year to become Bauerâs creative director working on special projects looking at creating TV spin-offs from the publisherâs magazine titles.
He left in 2013 to become a creative media consultant and has worked with clients including the Cannes Lions advertising festival, YouTube network Channel Mum, and Future Publishing.
Linleyâs arrival comes as James Welsh, who co-founded the site while at school and is only just in his early 30s, is understood to be in the final stages of transitioning out of the business.
Welsh had already moved away from the day-to-day operations of Digital Spy, and has been based out of New York as Hearstâs digital technology director.
âJulian brings a wealth of media experience to an already powerful brand,â said Anna Jones, chief executive of Hearst Magazines UK. âHis knowledge of providing audiences with compelling content they want to consume and share is second to none. I look forward to seeing him execute his vision for the brand.â