Keeping Online Content Free — And Making Money: The View From The ‘Daily Mail’ in Britain

By: E&P Staff

Even as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. begins launching pay systems for the online content of all its U.S., U.K. and Australian newspapers, the Daily Mail in Britain is adamant about staying free — and insists an advertising business model will work for the tabloid’s Website.

PaidContent U.K. reportedon the presentation by Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) executives at an investors day for shareholders, using the slides the company posted online. “They show a publisher determined to eschew Times Online’s paid route by aggressively courting advertisers and eyeballs to remain largely free,” paidContent wrote.

Says one slide: “Like it or not, the Web is free with one or two players in each sector becoming big winners.” MailOneline, another slide says is “now big enough to make the advertising model pay.”

Being free will allow the Daily Mail to expand its brand internationally and promote and protect paid products and services, it said. Like the Guardian in Britain, the Daily Mail has an extensive retail operation. Customers spent 31 million pounds on MailLife retail products — including 3.6 million just on wine. (1 pound = $1.54)

“A pay-wall MIGHT make a little money — we will make a lot,” the DMGT said.

Without giving revenue numbers, the company said MailOnline digital-only display ad revenue is up 131% year-to-date.

Readers will not pay to consume general news on the Web, DMGT said, but will pay for print and news on mobile devices.

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