Lord Rothermere reveals plans to double Mail Online audience and charge for premium content

Daily Mail and General Trust proprietor Lord Rothermere has revealed plans to double the size of the Mail Online audience and to start charging for premium online content.

The Daily Mail already charges for its Daily Mail Plus iPad and Kindle edition which includes an increasing amount of unique content – including a daily digital nostalgia magazine which was launched last week.

While Mail Online attracts more than 100m unique browsers a month worldwide (according to ABC) and has very different news values from the Daily Mail print edition.

Press Gazette understands that Daily Mail Plus is seen as a way of providing a digital future for the Daily Mail which is closer to its traditional values.

Daily nostalgia magazine The Way We Were is a significant editorial investment for the Mail featuring a mixture of new interviews and features and repackaged archive content.

It was quietly launched this week without any promotion – but Press Gazette understands that Mail executives hope it will appeal to the paper’s large expat audience.

The Mail is currently offering a 30-day free trial for Mail Plus which includs stand-alone sport, TV and puzzles sections with significant amounts of free content. At 38p a day, Daily Mail Plus is a fraction the cost of buying an overseas print edition and is available worldwide from 6am.

Speaking about the Mail’s online success, Lord Rothermere told the Shift conference in London last week that the Mail Plus iPad edition is seen as “a more premium environment and we are going to try and push that as a separate medium”.

Asked about plans to charge for online content, he said: “Mail Plus will not be free – we’re trying to make it a premium. That may not work, we don’t know at this stage.

“Mail Online for the foreseeable future will be free because we’re not competing against other newspapers.

“We see that there’s a global opportunity and we want to carry on growing. We would ideally like to double our size, and try and compete with the likes of Yahoo News on a global space.

"I think it’s going to be very difficult to do that if we are charging. However, in due course I think we will start experimenting with a freemium type model.

"But I believe we’ll probably have to invest in premium content to do that.”

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