Newspapers And Video Strategy

Yesterday I attended part of an ABCe conference (these are the guys who moderate distribution and stats for the media) where the head honcho for the Mail Online was speaking. The Daily Mail is an ultra right wing national newspaper with a dwindling, middle England female bias to its readership. The official rag of female baby boomers who hate immigrants and are obsessed by the minutiae of C list celebs' lives.

Extraordinarily, their web site is the most read newspaper site in the UK (I had never visited it until today, but I'm hardly prime audience, having had an education). The figures presented were quite extraordinary, apart from the fact that the site is very female orientated and has a lot of gossip and tittle tattle ('Sarah Jessica Parker's sinewy like Madonna arms' was the headline).

But the most interesting thing is the lack of commercialisation. There seem to be house ads and three MPUs on the giant home page and a banner, MPU and an advertorial slot on other pages.

What's particularly interesting is that only about a quarter of the readers are from the UK. For a highly parochial site this seems strange.

So, let's say that 10m visitors can be commercialised, that they visit ten pages on average, and each page has three ads. That's 300,000 CPMs at, say £4. £1.2m a month. Not bad, with tremendous potential to grow, and probably with affiliate and other revenues that I haven't factored in. More if they have geo-targeted ad deals to exploit audiences in other English speaking countries.

Now, imagine you could get that audience viewing a video ad at £10 CPM - that's a minimum of an additional £100k for each video/ad viewed.

It's a big reason why newspapers need to look at their video strategies anew - adding Brightcove player isn't enough any more.

And it shows how wrong Murdoch has got online. Operationally the Mail has won on service and content, and despite my sarcasm, Mail Online is brilliant because it knows, understands and can monetise its targeted audience. Bravo. Let this be a lesson to all of us who let our personal biases get in the way of building a commercial media service.