Mail Online tracking to be profitable earlier than expected

While more news websites are turning to pay walls to earn revenue, Mail Online, the United Kingdom’s most read newspaper website, is proving it can still be profitable without requiring a paid subscription.

Launched online on 2008, Mail Online, owned by Daily Mail and General Trust, is performing well enough to nearly break even this year, being profitable earlier than anyone expected.

Last year, our revenues were £16 million. This year, Mail Online is very close to breaking even on revenues of a little over £25 million,” the publisher stated Wednesday, paidContent reported. Martin Clarke, the editor of Mail Online, shows his confidence by pointing out that within five years, Mail Online is expected to generate £105 million a year.

From DMGT’s perspective, Mail Online was “an early-stage business” that was not expected to turn a profit until well into 2013, DMGT CEO Martin Morgan noted last year, according to paidContent.

Though DMGT’s profit is shrinking due to falling national advertising revenues and higher newsprint and promotional costs, Mail Online’s ad revenue surged by 69 percent this year, according to DMGT’s financial website, This is MONEY.

The Mail Online website cost £25 million to build and employs just 35 journalists in the UK and U.S., yet its potential and popularity is big, overtaking The New York Times as the top online newspaper, according to figures from tracking firm comScore this year, media website BuzzFeed reported.

“We are now one of the biggest players in terms of Internet news, as is The New York Times – and I’m sure we both will be for a while,” Clarke told BuzzFeed in an interview.

By emphasising that Mail Online’s content attracts readers, Clarke pointed out to paidContent that their referrals “are organic; a one-off referral won’t make people come back time and time again. The stories which do make people click are those on our homepages; it’s those people addicted to the homepages who drive our growth.”

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