Accelerating the inevitable?
Readers have noticed. According to the research firm comScore, more than 32 million people flock to the British newspaper’s site every month for the latest on Ms. Cole, as well as news of narrower interest. Its growth curve has been remarkable: Created only two years ago, Mail Online now has the second-largest Web audience of any paper in the world, behind only Nytimes.com, the combined site of The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune.
Mail Online is a striking example of how newspapers, struggling to develop strategies for the digital future, can use free Web sites to reach huge new audiences as print circulation and advertising decline. But it also illustrates the limitations of this strategy; for all the millions of Web visitors, The Daily Mail’s digital businesses generated a grand total of £12 million, or $18.7 million, in sales in the latest financial year, the paper’s owner, Daily Mail & General Trust, reported last month.