Its potent mixture of news, celebrity and scurrility propelled it to the title of world’s most popular newspaper website, and figures released yesterday suggest the inexorable rise of Mail Online is far from over. Data compiled by owners Daily Mail & General Trust this morning reveal that digital revenue at Associated Newspapers, which also publishes the Metro and Mail titles, was up 72 percent to £31m. Mail Online revenue for the year to September 30 grew 74 percent to £28 million, after traffic to the site exceeded 100 million unique monthly browsers.
In a statement, the DMGT outlined an ambitious and expansionary future business model for the website in the coming year. Following the launch of an Indian version of the site earlier in 2012, 2013 will see ‘increased investment in expanding the New York and Los Angeles editorial bureaus, as well as the teams of UK and US video editors, which will be accompanied by significant investment in technology.’ Indeed, the trust has made clear its intentions to double staff at its US operation to as many as 80, as part of a wider multi-million pound strategic drive in its digital and online output. in addition, the focus on new video editors clearly signifies the vast potentiality of this area, with handheld devices such as tablets and Internet TVs proving more attractive video platforms than the desktop web.
In a statistic that encapsulates the concurrent differing fortunes of online and print media, advertising revenues were down 2 percent to £332m with a strong performance by both Mail Online and Metro offset by lower display revenues at both Mail print titles. Despite this, circulation revenue on DMGT’s titles increased by 3 percent to £353m, mainly due to cover price increases and the end of temporary price discounting by The Mail on Sunday last year following the closure of the News of the World.
The sheer number of unique monthly visitors to the website never fails to stagger, and it is the significance of its worldwide footprint which allows for such seemingly grandiose global ambitions. Whilst other newspapers have garnered impressive, and international, online followings (The Telegraph increased its online readership last month from 51.4 million to 56.9 million, and The Guardian’s 71.8 million monthly unique browsers for October is ‘a record high’), the Mail’s unprecedented total of 106 million visitors, according to last month’s figures, gives it a status and an outreach that other titles must consign to the world of fantasy. Other popular newspapers, it seems, would do well to study its thriving business model.