With Celebrity and Scandal, MailOnline's U.S. Revenue Double

Still Relatively Small at $19 Million, but Jon Steinberg Has a Plan

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MailOnline wins the internet partly with its celebrity news.
MailOnline wins the internet partly with its celebrity news.

MailOnline, the website of U.K. tabloid the Daily Mail, generated £12 million, or roughly $19 million, in revenue from its U.S. website during the year ending in September, parent company DMGT said Wednesday in a release of preliminary results for its fiscal year. That's more than double the £5 million, or roughly $8 million, it brought in during the equivalent period a year prior.

U.S. revenue comes entirely from digital ad sales and still represents a fraction of the nearly £62 million, or about $98 million, that MailOnline generated worldwide in its fiscal 2014. That was an increase of 62% over the previous year and came mostly from the U.K., the company said.

Through a mix of splashy stories about celebrities, scandal and breaking news, MailOnline has grown into one of the most visited newspaper websites in the U.S. and the world. But MailOnline is still a relatively new entrant to the U.S. market, having opened its first U.S. office in L.A. in 2010. A New York outpost followed a year later. Today, MailOnline employs about 120 people in the U.S., DMGT execs told investors on Wednesday. In the U.K., it's about 250 people.

This year, MailOnline hired Jon Steinberg, BuzzFeed's former president and the architect of its native-advertising strategy, as its CEO for North America. He quickly got to work meeting with marketers and media buyers, as well as introducing a fresh slate of native ad formats, a tactic in which digital advertising seeks to mimic the editorial content surrounding it.

More hiring is coming for the business side in the U.S., according to Martin Morgan, DMGT's chief executive officer. "We've been beefing up the sales team in the U.S.," he told investors.

That could help MailOnline fix what Mr. Steinberg called its "Madison Avenue challenge," referring to the site's lack of exposure in the advertising community. Part of his fix for that problem is moving MailOnline to DailyMail.com to clear up brand confusion, he told Ad Age in August. That migration is currently under way.

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