UK media baron sets sights on Australian launch with Mail Online

20 May 2013

The proprietor of powerhouse UK media group, the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), has signalled he is eyeing up to launch the Mail Online in Australia.

In a rare interview, Viscount Rothmere, otherwise known as Jonathan Harmsworth, said he has plans to convert the Mail Online into a global media business, and expand aggressively beyond its UK home market.

“In the US, you can’t ignore the Spanish [speakers], so we’re looking at that,” Harmsworth told UK-based Mediaweek at a Newsworks conference. “Then it will probably be Australia - it’s a small market but gives us access to all the English-speaking markets. We can make it a base for all of South Asia.”

The revelation of Mail Online’s international ambitions will fire a warning shot towards local publishers such as Fairfax and daily tabloid the Daily Telegraph, owned by News Ltd. It will also give the left leaning Guardian, set to launch within weeks, some food for thought.

The Mail Online, is one of the most visited newspaper websites in the world. Harmsworth has ambitions to grow full year revenues last year of 45 million pounds, to 100 million pounds in the next three years, and compete with news providers such as Yahoo!.
Popular US news service Business Insider recently set up operations here too.

Harmsworth became chairman of DGMT in 1998 after the death of his father and appears to be captivated by the growth prospects of the Mail Online. The website has a heavy tabloid skew and its mix of content is perfect for integration with social sharing sites.

“We are the most shared site on Facebook in the UK and growing to become the same in the US,” Harmsworth told Mediaweek. In addition, he revealed that the media business was evolving rapidly to ensure content can be monetized and advertisers can play a role.

“Web 3.0 will be the utilisation of big data, or unlimited data-processing, together with alot of personal information, enabling us to really target individuals with a prescient message, whether it’s advertising or news. Companies that invest in that, or understand that, are going to get a head start.”

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