The Deal with the Daily Mail

July 21, 2010 • Digital News, Media Economics • by

The Daily Mail‘s website is a humongous success. And it’s free.

Let’s skip the pros and cons of the somewhat tired ‘to paywall or not to paywall’ argument for a moment and focus on a website which is quite virtually rolling in the dough: MailOnline, Web version of the UK’s Daily Mail. According to Peter Preston of The Guardian, 1.9 million folks are still buying copies of the print version, while online growth  increased from basically nill four years ago to 450,000 unique visitors per month (up 72 percent year by year). Pretty impressive.

Yet a quick visit to the site’s homepage assaults the eyes with celebrity images (LiLo in prison garb, Kate Winslet in Rome, someone called Katie Price who appears to have had a plastic surgery misfire).  Addressing critics who don’t believe MailOnline to be a true news site, Preston says, “There is no rule that says online papers must play print’s little brother. On the contrary, the most successful ones are more like inspired riffs on a print theme. Nor is there a rule that says big print sellers carry the same clout when they transfer to screen.”

Read more from Preston at OrganGrinder.

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